Jennifer Reyes, a licensed practical nurse for 20-plus years, is earning an A.A. and a B.S. at Adelphi.

by Cecil Harris

“Everybody told me to go to Adelphi University if I wanted the best education.”—Jennifer Reyes

When Jennifer Reyes asked her nursing colleagues where she could acquire the academic credentials to complement her 20-plus years of experience, she kept hearing the same answer.

“Everybody told me to go to Adelphi University if I wanted the best education,” she said. “Adelphi’s reputation precedes it.”

Reyes is enrolled in a program in which University College—Adelphi’s college for working adults—partners with the College of Nursing and Public Health to enable students to earn an associate’s degree in liberal arts and a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Students receive life experience credit for their licensed practical nurse (LPN) training.

Since enrolling in 2012, Reyes has made the Dean’s List each semester and maintained a 3.9 grade point average.

“I always said I would put my kids through school before I went back to school,” said Reyes, who could easily pass for a traditional-age college student despite having a 23-year-old son (Jordan, a law student at Pepperdine University) and a 22-year-old daughter (Alexis, an English major at Queens College).

Reyes will receive an A.A. from University College in December and then pursue a B.S. in Nursing in Spring 2015.

A resident of Richmond Hill, New York, Reyes is an LPN in the labor and delivery unit at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. As an Army nurse at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany—the largest American hospital outside the United States—she treated soldiers who often sustained gruesome injuries while fighting in Iraq.

“When you see a 21-year-old with amputated limbs, that image stays with you,” she said. “But that experience also helps you deal with pressure. In the military, it’s one mission, one goal. You learn to stay focused on the goal you’ve set.”

Reyes qualified for tuition benefits through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Since Adelphi matches the Veterans Administration’s contribution of 50 percent of tuition costs, qualified veterans pay little to no tuition if they attend Adelphi.

In Fall 2014, Reyes’s course load includes pathophysiology, emerging trends in genetics, informatics in health care, nutrition in nursing (a hybrid course combining class instruction and online learning) and global and societal development and conflict (an independent study course).

“Other schools offer an A.A. in Nursing, but that doesn’t get you far,” she said. “To advance, you need to get your bachelor’s and your master’s, and that’s what I intend to do.”

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