From teacher to nurse, single mom fulfills dream

Melissa Chaffin

Melissa Chaffin, 26, is a hometown girl at heart. For her entire life, she’s called Alvin, Texas, home and has attended the First United Methodist Church there.

But her ambition knows no bounds. The single mother to 8-year-old Callie has devoted the past few years to improving not only her own life through education, but using that education to improve the lives of others.

Currently enrolled in the University of Houston-Victoria’s Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing offered at the University of Houston System at Sugar Land, the former elementary physical education teacher is finally fulfilling a longtime dream to become a nurse.

“Before I started teaching, nursing was originally what I wanted to get into,” Chaffin said. “I got my original degree in kinesiology, the study of body movement, but circumstances changed, and when a teaching job came up, I decided to take it since I was a single mom and needed a job. But now I really feel this is where God wants me to be. I love people, and I love the opportunities nursing can open.”

Chaffin added that she doesn’t look at nursing as just a job or even another career, but rather as a way to contribute to God’s work.

“Twice a year, my church goes on mission trips to a mountain village in Mexico, and before, I always felt a bit useless. Now I can feel useful,” she said. “My church and my faith is No. 1 in my life. I love Jesus.”

She also loves her family, without whom she wouldn’t be where she is today.

“My daughter, Callie, is the reason I’m doing this,” she said. “Everything I do is for her. She keeps telling everyone, ‘My momma’s going to be a nurse,’ and that makes me happy. I also couldn’t have done all this without my parents. My mom even quit her job so I could go to school. I’m blessed with a great family.”

Chaffin is set to graduate in December and is exploring different nursing career options.

“There’s so many opportunities that it’s hard to pinpoint what I’ll do when I graduate,” she said. “Perhaps I’ll work in delivery, or the neo-natal intensive care unit, or maybe even become a school nurse. It’s up in the air. I’ll just put out applications and see what happens.”

The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact UHV Communications Manager Paula Cobler or call 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.