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UW Student Jaclynn Barnes to Speak at Nursing Convocation

April 24, 2019
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Jaclynn Barnes, graduate-elect from the UW BRAND nursing program, will deliver the 2019 University of Wyoming Nursing Convocation address next month. (Josh Rauterkus Photo)

Jaclynn Barnes, a University of Wyoming graduate-elect from the UW accelerated BRAND nursing program, has been selected to speak at this year’s Nursing Convocation.

The ceremony is scheduled Friday, May 17, from 2-4 p.m. in the UW College of Arts and Sciences auditorium.

“I look forward to speaking at the convocation ceremony and sharing my excitement for the future with my fellow nursing classmates,” Barnes says. “I was and am extremely honored to be asked to speak at the convocation, and hope that I can represent myself, my classmates and the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing well.”

Barnes, who graduates in August, was selected to speak because of her leadership in her nursing program's cohort. She sits on the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing Pre-Licensure Committee, representing her fellow students in the BRAND (Bachelors Reach for Accelerated Nursing Degree) program.

“She is always positive and professional,” says Kim Raska-Miller, BRAND program director.

Though Barnes currently lives in Laramie, she says she “had the blessing of living in many states.” Born in New Jersey, she then moved to Delaware, Florida and then to Fort Collins, Colo., before landing in Laramie.

As a requirement to be in the BRAND program, Barnes has a previous non-nursing bachelor's degree in hospitality management from the University of Central Florida.

“I am proud of this degree, and it allowed me to have many amazing opportunities throughout my 20s,” Barnes says. “However, I always felt that I was missing something in my career and discovered that I had a desire to help people and give back more than I was currently doing.”

In 2016, while she was pondering how to find more fulfillment in her desire to help others, her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She describes it as a “turbulent time” that was eased and made manageable due to the incredible care she and her husband received, both at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Wash., and at Ivinson Memorial Hospital’s Cancer Center in Laramie.

“During this time, I was applying to veterinary school and quickly changed this path to nursing after watching and idolizing the nurses who cared for my husband,” Barnes recalls. “I was continually impressed by the knowledge, advocacy and genuine care these nurses provided. It was then and there that my search was over, and I knew what the rest of my career had in store.”

Barnes was recently chosen by School of Nursing Dean Mary Burman to represent the school at the 2019 Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. Students who were interested submitted letters, explaining why they wanted to attend the summit, to Burman.

“I would love to use this opportunity to travel to D.C. to learn more about all aspects of the nursing field, education and improving the field of nursing,” Barnes wrote. “Being immersed in sessions focused on items -- such as federal policy processes and nursing’s role in professional advocacy -- would be personally fulfilling and also great topics to review with my colleagues.”

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