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Elizabeth Patterson

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing

College/School: Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences

When Elizabeth Patterson graduated with her degree in psychology, she discovered that she needed to pursue a master’s degree to avoid a job waiting tables. Her father offered another alternative: join the Navy. The daughter of two U.S. Navy veterans, Elizabeth decided that serving her country would also be an opportunity to find her career path, so she enlisted in 2006.

Elizabeth soon found that she liked taking care of people and could reach more people as a medic than as a psychologist. She also realized that she had a passion for helping junior sailors find their way, both professionally and personally. She enjoyed having a positive impact on the lives around her. After nine years in the Navy, Elizabeth applied to the highly competitive Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program to earn her degree in nursing.

Off to a great start at FIU’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences, Elizabeth hit a snag when the unexpected happened: she ruptured three ligaments in her right ankle while maintaining her physical fitness per Navy requirements. She worked closely with FIU and the Navy to ensure that she maintained her full-time status, taking courses out of the usual order and online. Her spirit and determination to improve the lives of her family helped her persevere.

In August, Elizabeth will commission as a Nurse Corps officer. She and her family will be stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, at the Naval Medical Center.

By Jessica Drouet