From the Student Speaker: Joyline Chepkorir

From the Student Speaker: Joyline Chepkorir

Sam DiStefano
By Sam DiStefano  | 

I was born and raised in Kenya. In 2008, my mother gifted me a book titled “THINK BIG” by Ben Carson, a retired American neurosurgeon. This book not only imparted life lessons but also introduced me to the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. From that moment, I set my sights on Hopkins. It would take another 12 years before I finally set foot on the campus.

We are here because of several people who believed and invested in us. I am also certain that your journey to this point has been one of remarkable dedication.

You endured countless hours of study, tackled rigorous assignments and exams, engaged in immersive simulations and clinical experiences, conducted demanding research projects, learned to embrace critical feedback POSITIVELY, I repeat, we learned to embrace critical feedback POSITIVELY from our clinical instructors and professors.

And importantly, you mustered the mental fortitude needed to overcome imposter syndrome. In the face of personal challenges, unsettling social and global issues including the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, you have showcased unwavering dedication to your education and the nursing profession.

Your deliberate choice to pursue advanced degrees in a profession consistently ranked the most trusted profession speaks volumes about your character and aspirations.

Today, as you stand on the threshold of graduation, I hope you take a moment to reflect on your remarkable growth and feel immense pride in your accomplishments.

Throughout our time in the Post Degree Certificate, Master’s, and Doctoral programs, we have witnessed numerous achievements at the individual and institutional levels.

Some of us volunteered with the Student Outreach Center, to cultivate vegetable gardens in Baltimore. Others collaborated with community health volunteers in Guatemala, to provide health education to individuals living with chronic diseases. Some led research endeavors, aimed at addressing critical health and healthcare challenges, in the United States and beyond.

Many of us had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the rich history of Charm City, including indulging in the culinary delights of crab cakes at the Inner Harbor, OR participating in cultural festivities such as Artscape. These collective experiences represent just a fraction of the diverse and enriching tapestry that has woven through our academic journey.

As we commemorate this momentous occasion, I would like to spotlight three key assets that we each carry forward into the next phase of our careers. I have summarized these assets in the acronym “D.V.P.”

“D” represents your degree, a testament to your perseverance and determination. Beyond its monetary value, your advanced nursing degree is a gateway to endless possibilities. I encourage you to leverage your knowledge and skills to pursue your passions and effect positive change in the world. Whether through clinical practice, teaching, leadership, or research, let your degree serve as a catalyst for meaningful action and innovation.

“V” symbolizes your voice, a potent instrument for advocacy and change. Nurses have long been at the forefront of social and political movements using their voices to champion the rights and well-being of their patients and communities.

Congresswoman Lauren Underwood is a great example. She is a Hopkins nurse and a trailblazer, who serves Illinois’ 14th Congressional District.

I urge you to speak your mind confidently and boldly, because your ideas and opinions have the power to shape the future. Do not underestimate the power of your voice on social and professional media, especially when championing social justice and health equity. You and I are no strangers to ethical principles. Use your voice wisely.

“P” signifies your presence and proactive engagement in shaping the world around you.

Your intentional engagement in conference rooms, where crucial health and healthcare decisions are made, will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the individuals you serve. Wherever you find yourselves, I encourage you to stay committed to understanding and implementing strategies for positive change at local, national and global scales.

Amidst the hustle, cherish and savor the simple joys – Like the scent of roses, the warmth of a summer sunrise, and meaningful connections with loved ones and our extended nursing family. Though seemingly small, these things hold significance in life’s broader spectrum.

Forge ahead with confidence; igniting inspiration, fostering innovation, and blazing trails of leadership.

About the Author: Joyline Chepkorir

Joyline Chepkorir is a PhD graduate from the Johns Hopkins school of Nursing. Originally from Kenya, Joyline earned her PhD in March of 2024, defending her dissertation entitled, “The Interplay of Health Information, Health Literacy, and Cervical, Cancer Screening Among Rural Kenyan Women.”

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