December graduation honors first doctoral graduates | Schools
As the Centennial Center filled with friends and family members celebrating graduation, the students seated on the floor reflected on the journey that brought them to this point in their lives.
The students credit their hard work and diligence, as well as the support from loved ones to helping them reach this achievement.
One graduate gives credit to both her perseverance and her supportive family, as she makes history being one of the first doctoral graduates from Georgia College.
“It’s very special to be a part of the first Doctor of Nursing Practice cohort,” said Chioma Okereke. “We are the trailblazers. It’s incredible to me that we have been able to achieve this milestone with the help of our dedicated faculty.”
Okereke had some special guests in the audience celebrating as she walked across the stage and shook hands with President Steve Dorman. Her husband and children who have be very supportive throughout the program, and her parents, who are visiting from halfway around the world. They grinned from ear-to-ear as their daughter received her diploma.
In 1986, Okereke moved to the U.S with her husband Victor from her native country of Nigeria. Her parents and other family members still live there.
Although this isn’t her first degree, there’s something even more special about this one than all the others.
“It means a lot to me to have my parents here from Nigeria,” she said. “I am thrilled to have achieved my doctorate degree and having them here alongside my family is just the icing on the cake to this celebration.”
The mother of three currently has her own medical practice in the Marietta, Ga. area. She plans to use her degree to further expand the patient’s care at her practice and has also been offered a teaching position at Kennesaw State University in their nursing program.
“I could not have completed this journey without the help and support from the faculty at Georgia College,” said Okereke. “The program is intense, but they work to help each student through the process and answer any questions we may have.”
The Doctor of Nursing Practice program began at Georgia College in May 2012.
The first cohort included Okereke and four other students-- Carol Ann Boyer, Kay Brooks, Sandra Copeland and Laurie Parkman.
The interactive online program is a post-master’s in nursing, with two on-campus immersion experiences, and it includes 37 credit hours with 540 clinical hours.
The intent of the DNP program is to expand the knowledge base of nurses to enable them to meet complex healthcare needs by increasing collaboration, leading healthcare innovations and influencing healthcare policy at the highest organizational level.
For more information, visit gcsu.edu/nursing.
Contact information: Georgia College University Communications, Georgia College, 231 W. Hancock St, Milledgeville, Ga. 31061