Faculty and scholarships encouraged nursing student during challenging times
Dantia Windmon has been interested in the medical field for a long time. She worked as a pharmacy technician at Walgreen's for six years and planned to become a physician's assistant. But after a loved one spent time in the hospital, she knew that nursing was her true calling.
Windmon entered GRCC's rigorous nursing program at the same time she was going through one of the toughest times of her life.
"Before I started the nursing program, I started divorce proceedings, which was one of the most trying times of my life compounded by being in one of the most rigorous programs of my life," she said. "There were so many days where I felt like, 'Can I really do this?'”
Fortunately, Windmon was surrounded by people who knew she could.
"Nursing adjunct Aundrea Robinson-Burris noticed that I had been crying after a hard day during a clinical rotation," Windmon said. "As I expressed some of the personal issues that I was going through, she told me to lift up my head and know that I could do this.
"All of the staff at GRCC is very helpful. Michelle Olszewski was so welcoming and loving in our first official nursing course as we sat in our seats terrified of the unknown journey to come. Jodie Boelens helped us countless numbers of hours with our nursing math, and Glenes Hamersma dedicated her expertise to make sure we understand the intricate details of oncology care. Renae Potts' enthusiasm for nursing seeped into our daily coursework, and Anne Sherman helped me tirelessly navigate and find opportunities to help pay for the my program.
Windmon also learned GRCC had faith in her abilities when she was nominated for an Outstanding Adult Learner Award from the Grand Rapids Area Higher Education Award.
"Although, I did not receive the award, I was given three recommendation letters by my professors, who spoke eloquently about me," she said. "This reinforced that I was on the right path, and it helped me continue to work hard toward my nursing degree."
GRCC scholarships were another source of reassurance and support. Windmon received the Occupational and Disability Support Office Special Populations Scholarships, the Laura Moody Scholarship and the new Spectrum Health Care Professionals Education Scholarship.
"I am not sure if I would have been able to complete my nursing degree if it had not been for the donors of GRCC," Windmon said.
Windmon, who received a full-time nursing position with Spectrum Health after graduating this spring, tries to help those around her as much as others have helped her. She mentors a young woman through the Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth and plans to volunteer with Wedgwood Christian Services' Manasseh Project, which helps human trafficking victims.
As she starts her new career, Windmon has no doubt that her hard work has been rewarded.
"I accomplished my dream and learned the importance of not allowing other people’s opinion of you shape your destiny."