UHV outstanding nursing students prepared for new challenges

After 13 years as a stay-at-home mom, Carrie Wise was quickly reintroduced to a heavy work load in the University of Houston-Victoria accelerated Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

While going back to school took some adjusting, the Richmond native excelled in the classroom and will graduate Dec. 13 as the UHV School of Nursing outstanding undergraduate student.

“It was quite a transition from being there for my children all the time to such a demanding program,” she said. “The Second Degree BSN program moves very quickly. You are doing two years of school in one. It was a little rough to manage family and school in the beginning, but with my family’s support, it all worked out.”

Each semester, professors from the four UHV schools select an outstanding student from both their graduate and undergraduate programs to be honored during commencement. UHV will hold fall commencement at 11 a.m. Dec. 13 in the Leonard E. Merrell Center, 6301 S. Stadium Lane in Katy. A pinning ceremony for nursing graduates will follow at 2 p.m. in the Merrell Center.

Tom Omondi

Tom Omondi of Missouri City was chosen as the nursing school’s outstanding graduate student. Omondi is wrapping up a dual degree program in which he will earn a Master of Science of Nursing and a Master of Business Administration. He said he was surprised and humbled by the award.

“It’s great when you work hard and see people acknowledging that work,” he said. “I really appreciate the faculty recognizing my accomplishments.”

In 2010, a friend of Omondi’s recommended that he consider enrolling at UHV. With his wife also pursuing her graduate studies and two young children, Omondi, 31, needed a flexible master’s program. He found the convenience of UHV appealing. He took face-to-face, blended and online courses.

After completing the nursing side of his degree in 2012, Omondi took a position as Chief Nursing Officer at Texas Specialty Hospital in Houston. He later was hired as the CEO of Promise Hospital of Houston, a long-term acute care hospital.

“The faculty and my fellow students have a lot of experience and helped me apply what I was doing in the classroom to what I was doing in real life,” Omondi said. “It helped give my work meaning, and I got a better idea of where my career path could go. I always have been interested in health care administration as well as education. The program was tailored to hospital administration, which was great for me.”

Omondi had planned to eventually get his MBA, so he decided to continue on at UHV. He will earn his MBA in December. He plans to continue to work in health care administration and would like to teach. He’s also considering pursuing a law degree.

“I believe in giving back,” he said. “There were a lot of people who supported me along the way getting these degrees. I hope I can, in turn, help someone else further their education.”

Carrie Wise

Like Omondi, Wise said she enjoyed meeting a lot of new people at UHV and interacting with her professors and fellow aspiring nurses.

“The campus is lovely, and the nursing faculty members are amazing,” Wise said. “They are truly dedicated to the success of their students. I really appreciate what they taught me this past year.”

Wise, 39, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UH, but she was looking to start a new career. Raising children, who are now ages 13, 12 and 9, gave her plenty of practice taking care of people.

“My mother was a nurse, and I saw a lot of the opportunities that the profession provided,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed caring for people and found it fulfilling, so I thought nursing would be a good profession for me.”

Wise said her grades and the growth she exhibited during the year may have been reasons she was named an outstanding student.

“I was pretty shy when I started the program and didn’t speak out much,” Wise said. “I think I built a lot of self-confidence as the program went along. I’m honored to have this award, but I could not have done it without my fellow students. We all work together and support one another.”

Wise has been accepted into the graduate nursing residency program at the Houston Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. She will work in the hospital’s operating room.

Kathryn Tart

“It’s geared toward training graduate nurses in a specialty,” she said. “It’s really my dream job. It’s the only one I applied for, so I am really happy to have this opportunity.”

Kathryn Tart, dean of the UHV School of Nursing, said Wise and Omondi showed perseverance and determination in their pursuit of degrees.

“I’m proud of all that Carrie and Tom have accomplished during their time at UHV and wish them the best of luck in their careers,” she said. “I’m excited for Carrie to start her terrific graduate residency program and pleased that Tom is finishing up his MBA and is ready to bring all his knowledge to health care administration.”

For more information about the School of Nursing, contact an advisor at or 877-970-4848, ext. 4370.

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.

Jeremy Shapiro