Graduate Spotlight: Pamela Karakusis-Smith


Associate of Science in Nursing, Spring 2013
Denver, CO Graduate

My name is Pam Smith and I am a recent graduate of NAU’s Associate of Science in Nursing program. As a child, I grew up around the medical profession since my father was a physician. Throughout my life I have always been inspired by his love and dedication not only to his profession, but also to his patients. I knew in my heart growing up that someday I wanted to be in the medical field and had high hopes that I could be as influential as my father. However, for a time my educational aspirations were put on hold. Prior to starting school at NAU, my life was uncertain and I was in a situation that I would characterize as horrific. However, there were individuals and entities that were willing to help me. Nurses and the nursing profession were an instrumental part in arranging help for me and my children. Having support and kindness when I needed it most was truly touching. At that moment I realized I would love to be in the position to offer the same to others dating.

I had many challenges throughout school. However, I am a firm believer that perspective is everything. A positive attitude can carry you through the most difficult times. It is easier said than done, but when you walk into class or are getting ready to study, you have to leave your troubles for another time. You simply have to be present and focused on the task at hand.

Through the course of getting my degree, NAU transformed from being a place that I went to school to a place where I loved being. That being said, NAU believed in me as a student and a person. They helped me find myself again and gave me the tools I needed to succeed. So, if I have to pick one thing I would say the people who have supported me along my journey are what I enjoyed most at NAU.

I personally feel that graduation has not only given me a sense of accomplishment, but has also increased the amount of confidence that I have in myself. Being able to persevere and achieve your goals and dreams is the most amazing feeling. Additionally, I feel that graduation has afforded me the opportunity to have my dream job working as a registered nurse.

(Pam Smith has recently passed her NCLEX exam and is awaiting a response on her employment at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver, CO.)


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