NORFOLK, Neb. – Grace Jansen has always wanted to follow the same route as her grandmother who has demonstrated a lifelong compassion of caring to those around her. That yearning has translated into a desire for Grace to enter the medical field that began as a young girl growing up in Hartington where she witnessed her grandmother, Mary Ann Bonertz, exhibit her empathy and passion for others over the years.
“My grandmother is very passionate about helping others, and I enjoy following in her footsteps in this career,” Jansen said. “She shows me the path, always reminds me to chase my dreams, and is my greatest cheerleader.”
Such support has allowed Jansen to establish goals that will eventually lead her to back to the area of her hometown to display that same type of benevolence to a new generation of residents.
Jansen is presently seeking an Associate Degree in Nursing at Northeast Community College. Following graduation in May 2022, she plans to enter the RN (Registered Nurse) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. From there, she would like to move on to Nebraska Methodist College to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.
Jansen would like to remain in Omaha when her schooling is finished to begin her professional career, but she would like to soon return to rural northeast Nebraska to provide healthcare to underserved populations in the region.
Although she understands the long journey ahead of her, Jansen is excited for the journey she has chosen for herself as she, “wants to help others to stay healthy and allow them to live their lives optimally.”
While in college, Jansen has invested her time and efforts to ensure she is receiving the best educational experience possible. She has a cumulative GPA of 3.96 and has been named to either the President’s List or the Dean’s List each semester she has attended Northeast. She is a Nebraska AHEC (Area Health Education Center) scholar, serves as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and as treasurer of the Student Nurse Association, is member of the TRIO Club, and assists students as a tutor in Pharmacology I and II courses.
For her achievements, Jansen was named the Northeast Community College TRIO Student of the Month in September. Each month, a participating TRIO student is selected for the award based upon their work in TRIO and in other activities on campus or in the community.
TRIO is a federally funded program that assists income-eligible individuals, first-generation college students (students who come from families where neither parent/guardian earned a four-year degree), and those with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline to post-baccalaureate programs. It also focuses on career exploration, cultural and social enrichment and self-awareness.
Jansen has, what is described as, an “amazing support system” of people she can always rely on, many of whom are on the Northeast campus. She credits her family - brother Austin, sister Aspen, and her mother Cathy Jansen - as being great supporters in her journey, and her friend Jared Bessmer, a former TRIO Student of the Month, with “helping me to overcome the stress of academics, giving me sound advice, and getting through this journey together.”
Jansen also credits Northeast nursing faculty members Sarah Luebe and Katie Brummels for supporting her with their advice and instruction.
“They are both so easy to talk to and make me feel comfortable communicating my questions and struggles.”
Luebe has enjoyed working with Jansen.
“Grace works hard and does well in the classroom and clinical setting. She is also a mentor; providing tutoring for first-year nursing students,” she said. “I look forward to seeing what her future holds in the world of nursing. She will be a great asset wherever she goes!”
“Grace is a very active student in our nursing program. She is a great example to her peers,” Brummels said. “First year students who attend her tutoring sessions have commented how helpful she is and that she takes time to explain things in a very understandable manner. She depicts a lot of great qualities that define what an outstanding nurse is.”
TRIO Director Josh Becker commends Jansen for being an astounding student. He said everything she has done at Northeast and even in how she has set her sights on the future back up that claim.
“However, it should be known how great of a person Grace is as well,” he said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with and watching her excel here. She will soon go on to do even more amazing things in her life and in the healthcare field, and if her journey does bring her back to northeast Nebraska, she will eventually leave a positive lasting impact on the area and every one of the individuals she interacts with.”
Jansen and other “TRIO Student of the Month” award winners receive a plaque and have their photo placed on the program’s Achievement Recognition board in the TRIO office. The board features the theme, True Leaders.
Jansen is modest in her determination to become a doctor and in making her family and her “future family” proud.
“I have always wanted to be a doctor and have always had the drive to make that dream come true, no matter what it took,” she said. “As a first-generation college student, I also wanted to show others that I can succeed and that they, too, can get whatever they want with hard work.”