Family advocate with a heart of gold

“Although I never got the chance to meet Marlie, that sweet little girl left a lasting impression on my heart. She has shaped who I am as a person and as a pediatric nurse. I find myself frequently asking, ‘What kind of nurse would Marlie want me to be?’

Through her legacy and endowed scholarship, I had the opportunity to focus on my studies and immerse in UCF life – learning beyond the classroom and making a lasting impact on the community. One of my favorite things every year was Knight-Thon. Last year was a full-circle moment as I participated as someone who now works with the very kids I have helped raise funding for since college.

I’ve always loved working with children. They have a unique way of seeing the world and are just so fun! Pediatrics gives me the opportunity to turn scary aspects of care into something kid-friendly – like using bubbles, songs or toys to start an IV. Care is also family-centered, which I love. Having the opportunity to be there to comfort and help patients and their families during a stressful and scary time in their life is something I cherish about the job.

I still maintain contact with Marlie’s family – most recently experiencing another full circle moment of caring for her cousin. It has reminded me of the bigger picture of nursing – that each patient is an individual with hopes and dreams, and a family that loves them. And it has reinforced my reason to become a nurse – to advocate passionately for patients and their families.


UCF Affiliations

  • Alumna ’16BSN
  • Recipient of 2015 In Memory of Marlie Kai Dodson UCF Oncology Nursing Endowed Scholarship
  • 2015 UCF Homecoming Queen
  • Knight-Thon Alumni Team Member

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