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Samantha Walker

Senior Advocate Finds Leadership and Unique Opportunity as a Sycamore DNP

Through each life experience, character is developed.  In my life experience, I learned the best things in life come with patience, practice, and hard work.    

Born and raised in Indiana, I was the first member of my immediate family to attend college.  I remember the first day I pulled up to Indiana State University in the backseat of my friend’s car.  She invited me to ride along with her after high school while she applied to the nursing program.  On the two-hour road trip, she convinced me to apply to the nursing program too.  With self-doubt and hesitation, I applied and was quite happy when I was accepted into the program because I always dreamed of being a nurse to help others.

Although I was shy and thought I would embark on my learning journey alone, I felt welcomed and experienced an atmosphere of genuine caring by the nursing faculty, staff, and students when I stepped through the doors of the School of Nursing.  Those small steps led to my unanticipated educational journey.  On that journey, I developed independence, leadership, and scholarship.

Over these past 30 years, I lived on and off campus and enjoyed the many academic and physical changes of the campus, including the new construction of the innovational College of Health and Human Services facility.  I have also had the honor and privilege of learning from professional and experienced nursing faculty who also served as role models during my undergraduate and graduate studies at ISU.  Although there were many other university choices for my advanced degrees, including my current pursuit of a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, I remained at ISU.  I love the small-town feel, faculty engagement, and evolving programs that have allowed me flexibility to meet my work/life balance and professional goals. I have received much support and guidance from my nursing advisor who has been most helpful as I pursue my Doctor of Nursing Practice.  

Most recently, I was accepted and am participating in a summer internship program at Eli Lilly and Company through a partnership with ISU’s School of Nursing.  At Lilly, I am paired with a nurse mentor for an in-depth experience learning about the role of nursing in pharmacology.  This experience has been instrumental in gaining insight into pharmaceutical manufacturing and providing new perspectives on career options available for nurses.

Currently, I work as the Director of Medicare & Managed Care Resources at Golden LivingCenters, a company dedicated to the care of seniors in multiple senior living facilities with various levels of care including skilled nursing, memory, and end-of-life care.  I use my nursing skills and experience working beside industry leaders to improve the quality of life for our seniors.  With the support of my ISU nursing professors, I hope to focus my scholarly project for my doctoral degree on improving the lives of seniors diagnosed with dementia.

One of my favorite quotes by President Abraham Lincoln is, “I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”  With much respect and gratitude to ISU and the nursing faculty and staff at the School of Nursing, I am looking forward to the new opportunities my doctorate degree will afford me in the future.  I will not let them down nor the seniors I serve.