(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — Seventeen members of the initial class of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi nursing students from the Bryan-College Station area received their degrees during fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 16 at Texas A&M University.

Through a new partnership with the Texas A&M Health Science Center, nursing students in the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi College of Nursing and Health Sciences can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degree in the Bryan-College Station area to help address the overall nursing shortage.

The collaboration is a fast-track program for those who already have earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. Participants graduate in 18 months instead of two years. Courses and clinical hours for the accelerated program are identical to the standard program with the exception of the compressed format.

“This was the first class to go through from Bryan-College Station, and all of them worked hard through the compressed program,” said Sharon Wilkerson, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor in the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi College of Nursing and Health Sciences. “All but one of them was an honor student, and I’m proud of their achievements. They really go through this program quickly, and it’s quite an accomplishment.”

The 17 graduates are Julia Anderson, Lisa Ataee, Laura Baker, Lauren Doutel, Courtney Henson, Theresa Herbst, Leah Horton, Clarise Koranek, Kimberly Minarcik, Shae Stelzel and Wendy Worthington of College Station; Brandi Knight, Amanda Smith and Creighton Wilson of Bryan; Catherine McKeown and Megan Simpson of Houston; and Gretchen Ross of Corpus Christi.

There are currently 16 nursing students in the Bryan-College Station area program, Dr. Wilkerson said. Students are being admitted through March, with the next classes beginning in September. More information is available at http://www.tamucc.edu/academics/academic_advising.html

In addition to the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi nursing program, Blinn College currently offers an associate degree in nursing. Blinn utilizes hospitals and health care agencies located in the Bryan-College Station area to provide a complete educational experience.

The Texas A&M Health Science Center provides the state with health education, outreach and research. Its six components located in communities throughout Texas are Baylor College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology, the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, and the School of Rural Public Health.

— Marketing & Communications