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Rutgers incorporates family touch

First-generation students who attend college often don’t have a role model or rule book to follow when starting out as first-year students. But parents can support students by showing up at family orientation events, asking questions of program staff and seeking out other parents to share information, guidance and direction.

At the College of Nursing’s Educational Opportunity Fund Program at Rutgers University, parents are strongly encouraged to be a support base for students. The EOF program has a Family Orientation Day relatives are invited to attend. The day provides an overview of what students are expected to complete during the intensive summer readiness program. The College of Nursing has the only EOF program exclusively for nursing students in New Jersey.

“The Rutgers EOF summer program prepares the rising junior nursing student through didactic classroom instruction as well as one-on-one clinical instruction,” said Felecia Briggs, FNP, MS, nursing faculty for the pre-junior program. “During the six-week program, they practice their basic nursing skills and engage in critical-thinking exercises through case study review. In addition, students learn how to put theory into practice with their last three weeks spent practicing skills in a local hospital.”

Standing, from left, are Lisa Giacomazzo, Stephanie Barrera, Stephanie Torres, Kimberly Tolentino, Jude Lespinasse, Hortencia Ramos, Janice Jones, Fernandine Charles, Chris Byrd-Kern and Theresa Huynh. Seated, from left, are Mireille Zuniga, Karinna Sabas and Jo-Ann Brutus.

This year, parents were given a firsthand account from a parent whose daughter completed the summer program the year before. The parent and daughter spoke to the audience and answered questions. The experienced parent also stayed through the day to privately speak with other parents. Many parents said this was appreciated because being able to talk to a parent whose child went through the same program offered them relief and comfort and made it easier to leave their daughters and sons on campus.

“I’m glad Rutgers has a program that helps those who are financially strapped meet their obligations while also gaining access to a top-notch education, which includes the wonderful world of nursing,” Briggs said.

At the end of the summer readiness program, the students graduate to become members of the College of Nursing’s Class of 2015. The students participate in a celebration called Culture Kitchen. At this event, students and parents bring dishes from their cultures.

From left, are Shalmirah W. El-Amin, RN, pre-junior clinical professor; Hortencia Ramos; and Jessica Mercado.

This year’s program was unique because one parent insisted on being a part of the team to set up the buffet table and work with the students and staff. “I volunteered to assist in serving as a way to show my appreciation and gratitude to the faculty and staff of the EOF program for all the opportunities and kindness they extend to my daughter [and student], Kimberly Tolentino,” Tess Tolentino said.

The most moving part of the Culture Kitchen program is watching the students reflect on their summer experience. “The EOF program has helped us a lot in meeting the financial costs of Kim’s education as a nursing student,” Tess Tolentino said. “Kim has also gained a lot of positive experience attending the support classes, being part of the summer program where she had her pre-clinical and worked as a teaching assistant in anatomy and physiology.”

The EOF program wants parents to feel welcome and understands the daunting process of wanting their child to gain an education and the difficulty of “letting go” so their daughter or son can progress into adulthood and become a nurse.

From left, are pre-junior faculty professor Mary Grace Aladeselu, RN; Catherine Lora; and Lin Chen.

“All those who are part of the program have provided Kim an avenue where she can continue her pursuit of excellence in earning a nursing degree,” Tess Tolentino said. “Their dedication and passion for what they do is making a huge difference for Kim to go and reach for the stars and make her dreams come true.”

For photos from the event, visit

By | 2020-04-15T13:21:03-04:00 November 21st, 2011|Categories: New York/New Jersey Metro, Regional|0 Comments

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