Former U.S. Marine Jocelyn Benitez, ’23, a first-generation graduate from Las Vegas, Nev., is no stranger to hard work or service – a fact that she has proven twice over as she prepares to graduate with her B.S. in nursing.
“I joined the Marines when I was 18 and wanted to learn more about myself,” said Benitez. “I was challenged in many ways, but it molded me into the leader and person I am today.”
As someone used to being in charge and making quick decisions, Benitez felt that a degree in nursing was a natural fit. It was also one she was drawn to after seeing the way nurses cared for her father and impacted his quality of life.
Following an honorable discharge from the Marines, Benitez moved to Connecticut, where she was directed to Southern to begin her career plans.
“Everyone I spoke to mentioned how good Southern’s nursing program is,” said Benitez.
Her dedication to the work was evident from the get-go, according to her professors. And her determination to get it right and provide top-tier care for her patients made her a standout in her class.
“I have had the honor and privilege of getting to know Jocelyn Benitez over the past two years,” said Joanne Roy, associate professor of nursing. “Jocelyn frequently took the time to not only self-reflect upon her knowledge of course content but to also validate full understanding of this knowledge in order to successfully provide the highest quality of care for her patients and within her nursing practice.”
In recognition of her outstanding achievements in academic theory and clinical practice, Benitez was selected by the nursing faculty to receive the prestigious Immaculata M. Alba Excellence in Nursing Award. The award is given annually to a graduating senior who, in the opinion of the faculty, has demonstrated a high degree of excellence in nursing and has attained a 3.5 QPR or higher, including grades of B or better in all nursing courses.
After commencement, Benitez will start her career as a registered nurse at Duke University Hospital’s Cardiac Step-Down Unit in North Carolina. But first, she has a few words for her former professor:
“One day I aspire to be the leader Dr. Roy is, and to be as knowledgeable as she is. Thank you for your kindness and knowledge, I will think of you in my future practice.”