Accelerating a Future of Care-Giving
Even though Audree Adams-Dupont is only in her freshman year at Eastern Arizona College, where she studies nursing, she is already ahead of schedule. “I’ve been taking lots of credits each semester. I started taking classes in a dual enrollment program back in high school. I take summer classes, mostly because I don’t like to be bored.”
Typically, students take between two and two and a half years to be ready to apply to nursing school. Audree will cut nearly a year off of that timeline.
At the same time that she’s been accelerating her coursework, Audree has also been working in the emergency room in a hospital in nearby Stafford. “I’m a trained patient care technician,” she says. “So I help with things related to daily living. I insert and remove catheters. I do blood draws. I apply splints.”
“I work three 12-hour shift days each while I take classes,” Audree explains. “It’s very difficult. But I love it. I learn so much at my job, and I know it will help me with my nursing education. I sometimes work nights. And when it’s slow, they let me do my schoolwork. I still have time to study.”
Like many College Success Arizona Scholars, Audree experienced significant personal adversity at a young age. And as many Scholars like her, she transformed a daunting challenge into a catalyst for personal growth and saw an opportunity to do more rather than an excuse to do less.
“My mom was really sick since the time I was in kindergarten and then passed away when I was 10,” Audree recalls. “During that time, I took care of her, helping to feed her, providing various breathing treatments.”
“Sometimes I would be late for school because I had to call an ambulance to come get my mom.” A few times, I rode in fire trucks to take me to school. They would come to the house early in the morning and take my mom away. And because my mom couldn’t drive me to school, they would then take me school. That got me interested in hospitals and medicine.”
Living in a small town, Audree found a way to cope by staying busy. One of her methods was to study hard. Audree finished high school in the top three percent of her class, with a GPA of 3.8, and was accepted into the National Honor Society. She also ran on the cross-country team, was a twirler for the flag team, and was in the school color guard. In varsity track, she qualified for the state tournament as a hurdler. Beyond all that, she worked at a nursing home and started taking EMT courses.
That diligence has persisted in college. Even so, Audree says the College Success Arizona scholarship, as well as the personalized mentoring that comes with it, have helped her stay on track. “Honestly, because of ACSF, I feel I need to keep going, that I can’t take any breaks,” she says. “If it weren’t for them, I might take a year off, maybe travel. But I’m really thankful that they keep pushing me to keep going to get my degree.” When asked about the mentoring portion of ACSF, Audree responded with this: “I love the mentoring program. I like being able to talk to my adviser about issues or success with school. He’s always there to tell me if I’m on track or if I might be a little over loaded.”
About halfway through her sophomore semester, Audree will take the entrance exam to nursing school. “I will apply to ASU and NAU and see where I get in. If get into ASU, I can go to nursing school in the town where I am now, and I can keep my job at the ER while going to school.”
“This town is so small,” Audree says, “but I can’t imagine being in Tucson and spending more money. And I don’t know that I would get hired at 19 in a hospital there. At this rate, I will be 22 when I get my nursing degree, with no debt, and I will have all this experience working in an ER. Not many people can say that. I love all the opportunities I have.”