Ohio State University: College of Nursing set for record graduating class

This weekend the section of Ohio Stadium designated for students graduating from the College of Nursing might look a little fuller than usual.

A record 700 graduates from the college are expected to celebrate commencement on Sunday. It’s a number and a class that speaks to passion, perseverance and purpose. For many of these students, much of their education in health care came during a deadly pandemic.

For Cincinnati-native Aarhea Hope, acting as a caregiver as her grandmother suffered through stage four colon cancer inspired her desire to become a nurse.

“Me and my mom helped her, and just cared for her,” Hope said. “That experience really allowed me to figure out what I wanted to do because of how it made me feel. You know, you get that feeling inside and you’re, like, ‘Oh, maybe this is what I’m supposed to be doing.’”

Hope is a first-generation student who started her college career at the Newark campus. She admitted it was a challenge at first until she found peers and mentors who helped her succeed.

Following graduation, Hope will attend Emory University to pursue a doctorate as a family nurse practitioner. From her professional training to her education, she believes Ohio State has prepared her well.

“I feel like all of the boxes at Ohio State have checked off for me to be successful at any institution,” she said. “Looking back at me, as a freshman, you could not tell me that I was moving to Atlanta, that I was going to Emory and I was going to be a doctor [of nursing]. Because that wasn’t my plan at first. But at Ohio State, they really instilled that confidence in me and made me realize how much potential I have.”


For PhD candidate Laura Beth Kalvas, it will be the next chapter of a journey at Ohio State that began as an undergraduate in 2009. A Presidential Fellowship and continuing training grants helped Kalvas continue her career in the College of Nursing.

“I’m definitely glad about the choice of Ohio State,” she said.

She felt the decision was validated at a conference this spring when she was speaking to peers about the positive reputation of the nursing PhD program.

“It’s just kind of nice to hear. When you’re inside, I don’t know if you always know that, then you talk to people who don’t go to Ohio State and you’re like, ‘Oh wow. I like Ohio State, but other people also think that it’s good.’”

As a researcher, Kalvas has focused on sleep disruption and delirium in children under 2 years of age in intensive care units.

Kalvas will continue her research at Ohio State. She was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship through the Center for Clinical and Translational Science. She plans to continue to develop her research into how hospital conditions could connect to delirium in children and develop interventions in the ICU environment to promote sleep and reduce the chance of delirium.

“I’m getting training in intervention research and doing observational research in my doctoral work,” she said. “So how I can take what I observe and act upon it to improve outcomes, and then also I’m continuing to look at that relationship between sleep and delirium and kids.”

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