ALAMOSA – A first-generation student, Joslin Gilleland chose her hometown college, Adams State University, and despite a global pandemic and breaking her leg just before her final semester she finished her Bachelor of Science in nursing this fall, graduating Cum Laude.
“Being a first-generation college student is a big step. Because my parents didn’t have the opportunity to graduate from college, this was my chance to make my family proud. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to gain a higher level of education and help pave the way for future generations.”
A San Luis Valley native, Gilleland appreciated the opportunity to remain close to her family while earning her degree and without going into debt. “Since I plan on staying in the Valley, I felt this was also a good way to make connections in this area.” She plans on starting her career with a local health care organization.
All of her nursing instructors were very supportive and helpful, but two really stood out. “When I was struggling to get my clinical hours completed during some major setbacks in my life, Fallon Crowther really stepped up and went above and beyond to make sure that I stayed on track. Kim Chacon was also a tremendous help and was very supportive throughout my final semester to help me meet my requirements to complete the program. The continued support from all of my instructors helped me stay motivated and gave me the confidence to keep going.”
Gilleland was active in the Adams State Student Nurse Association (ASSNA) and received many scholarships throughout her years at Adams State. She also held a work-study position in the Counselor Education Department for three of her years attending Adams State.
“I was very lucky to work with members of the Counselor Education Department who were very understanding of the requirements of the nursing program. They were great to work with my schedule and always reminded me that school should come first. I was also very blessed with my financial aid awards. Through all of my years at Adams State, I didn’t have the financial burden that many students have and for that I am very grateful.” She graduated in four-and-a-half years with no student loan debt.
“Coming in as a freshman, I didn’t know what to expect from my college experience. It was overwhelming at times, but through these years I learned how to budget my time and prioritize and find balance in my life. As a graduating senior, I feel confident to enter the work force as a registered nurse.”
Last year, during the winter break before her final semester, Gilleland broke her leg. “I was devastated.” The final senior semester of the nursing program consists of many clinical hours which she had to postpone, yet she was able to complete the lecture portion of classes in the spring and make up the clinical hours in the fall semester. “I overcame this obstacle through the support and encouragement of family, friends, and the Nursing Department. As difficult as some of these challenges were, they made obtaining my degree that much more meaningful.”