"I live 15 minutes away, so convenience is one reason. And it has a very good nursing program."

Nursing Major
Transferred from St. Joseph’s College

Kathleen Rickard, who will be embarking on a second career after the May 2014 Commencement, came to Adelphi with an ambitious background very different from that of the average transfer student.

Initially, Kathleen had enrolled in St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn, in 1987 and worked five jobs to pay her tuition. At one point, she took the police exam and in 1991 got the call to attend the New York Police Department Police Academy. While there, she continued college via independent study, she noted, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and speech science.

She went on to a 20-year career in the NYPD, from which she retired as a sergeant. During that span, she taught at the Police Academy, was stationed in Brooklyn and then joined the Traffic Division.

While a junior at St. Joseph’s, she also joined the U.S. Army Reserves, eventually putting in 19 years and rising to staff sergeant. After her NYPD retirement, she returned to St. Joe’s, this time earning 11 credits in nursing prerequisites during Summer 2011.

Kathleen, who transferred to Adelphi that fall, said, “Luckily, I got the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill,” which paid 60 percent of her tuition—thanks to her having served a year overseas, in Kuwait and Iraq. Speaking of 9/11, she noted, “I was a 9/11 first responder too.”

When asked what drew her to Adelphi, she said, “I live 15 minutes away, so convenience [is one reason]. And it has a very good nursing program.” Pausing, she quipped, “And the bunnies!” She was also awarded a sizeable transfer scholarship, she said.

Kathleen said she began thinking about nursing as a second career while on the police force. In planning for what she calls “my second future,” she realized many police skills would work well in nursing because “nurses in many ways are like cops. Both have to assess the situation quickly, ask the right questions, use critical thinking, have concern with the safety of others,” she observed. Nursing would also “fill a need, with baby boomers growing older,” she added.

Active in Student Nurses Acting for Progress, Tau Sigma and as president of the Adelphi chapter of the Student Veterans of America, Kathleen credits University College Dean Shawn O’Riley, Ed.D., with easing her transfer transition because of his and UC’s support of veterans.

This fall, “Kathleen was chosen to represent Adelphi at the national Tau Sigma Leadership Conference in Chicago,” said Jen Hunker, Center for Student Involvement associate director.

Kathleen took two study abroad trips, one in January 2012 to China’s Jinan University, where she learned about traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and massage—some of which she hopes to use as a nurse—and the other a service trip to the Navajo Nation in May 2013, including a trip to the Grand Canyon. Though Navajo Nation is in Arizona, “It’s a different world in many ways,” she said. The lack of public transportation and haphazard mail delivery are just two things making life difficult for tribe members, especially the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, to visit the distant clinic or get medication.

In summer 2013, Kathleen landed a full-time internship with the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, where she continued into the fall, working one day weekly—and hoping that could lead to a full-time job. Meanwhile, she is considering other options, such as working in the New York area with the elderly in a community center or clinic. She’s also mulling ways to apply her teaching skills to the nursing education field.

This piece appeared in the Spring 2014 Issue of the Transfer Student Newsletter.

For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
p – 516.237.8634
e –

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