Brent Pendergast

Fall 2023 Outstanding Graduate

Degree: Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesiology

College: Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Brent Pendergast is a quiet leader with a far-reaching impact. As a first-generation FIU Nurse Anesthetist, Brent's pursuit for excellence extends beyond personal achievements, inspired by his family and community and shaped by his deep-rooted values of altruism, hard work, and dedication to his profession and lifelong learning. These characteristics drive him to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those he serves. In his capacity as a devoted father of two young daughters and having assumed a caregiving role to his now late twin brother, who was physically challenged due to cerebral palsy, he chose to pursue a career as a registered nurse.

Motivated by an inherent calling to promote healing and forge a more promising future for his daughters, Brent's professional journey is underscored by a profound commitment to inspire his daughters to strive to be their best selves.

Brent is a distinguished leader, positive role model and team player who solves problems through collaboration, logical thought, and encouragement. In 2021 he was accepted to FIU’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, where he pursued his Master of Nursing Practice followed by his Doctor of Nursing Practice specializing in Nurse Anesthesiology. Having served as Vice President and as the FIU representative of the Florida Association of Resident Registered Nurse Anesthetists (FARRNA), he significantly impacted the Nurse Anesthesiology program through student advocacy, exemplary leadership, and peer mentorship.

Brent and his leadership team founded the program's first student-driven organization, the Society of Nurse Anesthesiology Students (SONAS), to encourage student empowerment, scholarship, and structure. He created the organization's Bylaws, working alongside faculty and fellow class officers to establish clear roles and duties. He also helped restructure the FIU Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship program, encouraging incoming nurse anesthesiology students and supporting their academic journeys through rigorous mentorship and motivation.

Under his leadership as FARRNA representative, he collaboratively spearheaded the inaugural Nurse Anesthesiology Recruiter Day, a first in the programs 18-year history. Through this initiative, Brent collaborated with classmates and community partners to invite over 20 anesthesia employers to FIU, securing job placement opportunities for over 100 nurse anesthesiology students and funding to support professional development opportunities.

During his academic career, Brent has consistently represented FIU Nursing in numerous regional and national conferences, including the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthesiology and the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology. He has been recognized through his scholarly work and poster presentations throughout his academic career at FIU.

Lastly, as a resource to his peers, Brent also dedicated his extra time to creating research software instructional videos, collaborating with outside resources to provide morale-boosting merchandising, and assisting with student funds management and party planning. His commitment to his peers and support for their success are testaments to his altruistic self-values.

Upon graduation, Brent will become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), further dedicating himself to serving the South Florida community. His commitment extends to community outreach initiatives, health advocacy, prioritizing patient safety, and providing mentorship to aspiring nurse anesthetists. Brent's overarching goal is to enhance the leadership foundation cultivated during his tenure at FIU, aspiring to emerge as an inspirational and quality-driven leader.

By Michelle Caldera
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences