Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
College/School: Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences
Michelle Dingee’s young life was a struggle, coming from a broken home and taking on jobs in high school to help the family make ends meet. She did not feel college was immediately in the cards after graduation, so she turned to her brother, an enlisted member of the U.S. Coast Guard, for guidance. He suggested she follow in the family’s footsteps of military service, and she enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.
Michelle found her vocation in health care over 14 years of service. She held several health care positions, including serving as a medic, and obtained her associate degree in allied health sciences. When the military downsized in 2014, she redirected her focus to finally get a bachelor’s degree.
The societal and financial readjustments to civilian life were not easy for Michelle. But she overcame the challenge of going back to college with the help of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion and applied to FIU’s Veterans Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
While attending FIU, Michelle worked as a live-in caregiver for a female World War II British Navy veteran, and the two women developed a deep bond. When the veteran passed away in January, it cemented Michelle’s passion to care for the older population.
Michelle will next pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice in gerontology and hopes to continue a life of service working with the older veteran patients in the VA hospital system.