By: Lynda Myers, member of the Mendocino College Foundation Board of Directors
Ukiah native, practicing Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and current second year nursing student, Crysten Starrett won two prestigious scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year at Mendocino College (MC). She won a Mendocino College Foundation Evelyn R. Foote scholarship as well as the Heidi Marie Daniel Memorial Scholarship, for a total of $2500.00 to assist with her academic expenses.
Starrett, who is the first person in her family to attend college, stated that while growing up, she always dreamed of a big future for herself, and Mendocino College seemed the best way to begin to achieve that dream. “I always wanted more for myself,” she said, “and I wanted to be an example for my younger brother.” She explained that she chose MC because it was less expensive than transferring to a four-year university right away, and also because she was not sure of her major at that time.
Starrett credits MC professors Sue Blundell and Rachel Donham for “making me love science and the medical field.” She said her greatest challenges at MC have been balancing school, studying, work, family and friends. She meets those challenges by staying organized, and by having people in her life, like her mom and good friends, who support her in her goals and understand that “school comes first.” Also, “Coming home to my dog, Bella, always makes a hard day better.”
In addition to working full-time at a real estate office during the past summer, Starrett worked part-time as a CNA, and she plans to continue working as a CNA during the academic year. “Nursing is the perfect career for me,” she said. “I love being there for patients in their darkest hours. I love working with new moms and babies, and making a positive difference in someone's day.”
After earning an Associate of Science degree from MC in 2015, Starrett plans to graduate from the Mendocino College Nursing Program (MCNP) as a registered nurse (RN) in the class of 2018. She then plans to earn a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing at Chico State University, followed by a Masters Degree in Nursing to become a nurse practitioner. After graduation from the MCNP, she would like to work with moms and babies in a hospital Obstetrics Department while she studies for her advanced degrees. Eventually, she would like to work as a nurse practitioner in the Ukiah area.
In her free time, Starrett loves to cook, especially making recipes from scratch. She also enjoys camping, hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.
Starrett had the following advice for prospective college students: “Don't procrastinate! Even if you don't know your major, your grades count! Give yourself time to study, and also to take breaks. Hold on to your dreams! Hard work pays off!”
In closing, Starrett enthused, “I am very grateful for the Mendocino College Foundation scholarships because they will allow me to work less so I can concentrate fully on my studies in the challenging nursing curriculum.” For more information about the Mendocino College Foundation or to donate towards any of their programs, call Katie Fairbairn at 707-467-1018.