Opportunity to impact people’s lives drives UHV nursing student

A parent’s illness can be scary for a child. That was the case for Emily Parkinson, whose mother underwent treatment for leukemia when she was young.

Emily Parkinson

The University of Houston-Victoria student chose to turn that experience into inspiration for a future career. As a student in UHV’s Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, Parkinson hopes to make a difference as a nurse.

“She was my motivation because they fixed her,” Parkinson said of her mother, now 20 years in remission. “This is where I can make an impact on people’s lives when it’s most important. I want to help.”

Parkinson, 25, was born and raised in the Houston area. She graduated from Magnolia High School in 2006 before moving on to Texas A&M University, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in community health.

When it became clear that community health wasn’t an ideal fit, she turned her focus to nursing. UHV entered the picture because it offered an accelerated program. Once classes began at UH Sugar Land, where UHV offers many programs, Parkinson knew she had made the right choice.

“UHV has the benefits of being tied to a big university, but in Sugar Land, you have that intimate, almost private-school setting,” said Parkinson, the first of her siblings to attend college. “You can really get to know your classmates and professors. I think that’s what makes it such a great school.”

When she isn’t attending classes or doing coursework, Parkinson said she focuses time on her husband and dogs.

“I enjoy spending quality time with them,” she explained. “That free time is rare when you’re part of a program like this one.”

Parkinson’s hard work has not gone unnoticed by others in the program. UHV faculty members recently selected her to receive a one-year membership to the Texas Nurses Association.

Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the UHV School of Nursing, said that Parkinson’s recognition was because of a combination of factors, including her 4.0 grade-point average, work as a peer leader and excellence in both the classroom and clinical settings.

Parkinson said she looks forward to wrapping up her courses – she plans to graduate on Dec. 14 – and taking that next step in her career.

Parkinson hopes to obtain an internship, most likely in critical care, with a Houston-area hospital. That way she’s in the midst of the action, making a difference to patients who are extremely sick, she said.

“Nursing is something I’ve always wanted to do. I just took a long road to get here,” she said. “I’m excited to get my life back and start a new career. It’s both exciting and scary.”

I am a Jaguar is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, email Paula Cobler , UHV director of marketing and communications, or call her at 361-570-4350.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Allison Miles 361-570-4342