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First generation Midland College graduate answers her callingJune 22, 2020

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Ashley Gonzales

Ashley Gonzales is the first member of her family to complete college. Before her, none of her immediate family had reached that point. Despite that, they encouraged her journey every step of the way. 

“Nursing is a calling,” she said. “One that I am ready to answer.”

Ashley was born and raised in Midland and graduated from Midland College (MC) in 2015 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing. Following graduation, she began working in the Labor & Delivery department at Midland Memorial Hospital where she took care of moms going into labor, delivered babies and assisted in the operating room with c-sections. She then worked as a travel nurse for two years. During that time, Ashley traveled between Uvalde, San Antonio and Abilene to provide care to people in those communities.

2017 was a big year for Ashley – she got married and decided to pursue a master’s degree in nursing. Building on the success and confidence that she gained during her time at Midland College, Gonzalez chose to continue her education at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Last month, Ashley Gonzalez received a Master of Science degree in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner from UTA.

“The education that I received at Midland College enabled me to be where I am today,” Gonzales said. “I always wanted to be a nurse. I’m a ‘people person’ and love taking care of people.”

Ashley attributes the Midland College staff and faculty with helping her find her way. She added that her learning experience was enhanced by the nurturing campus environment and the high caliber state-of-the-art classroom facilities.

“Midland College did an excellent job of guiding me and letting me know the quickest way to accomplish my goals,” Gonzales said.

She added that her instructors at Midland College were experts in their fields. They knew the content and material, and she was comfortable going to them with questions.

“The program at MC made me a very well-rounded nurse,” she said. “I’ve always looked up to healthcare professionals. It’s pretty amazing to be a part of their team now.”

MC Associate Degree Nursing Department Chair and Associate Professor of Nursing Dian White praised Ashley Gonzales.

“We are extremely proud of Ashley and of all our graduates,” White said. “Each Midland College graduate set a goal, worked hard to be successful, succeeded and is now entering a rewarding career as a professional nurse.”

As any future nurse knows, preliminary coursework lays the groundwork for the next pivotal moments—namely taking the American Associates of Nurse Practitioner exam (AANP) this summer. Although the test was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, passing the boards is now Ashley’s focus. Once she does that, she is on her way.

She is currently working in geriatric home care and has not yet decided on what will be her ultimate career path.

“I chose family practice because it is such a broad area, and I can choose to specialize later,” Gonzales said. “I would like to focus on women’s health or geriatric home health.”

What advice would Ashley give to potential students? “Keep going – it can be hard. Sometimes you self-doubt, but keep going and push through it. Ask for help if you need it. I am grateful for the educational opportunities that I have received, and I am excited to return to Midland to help my community.”

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