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Nursing Valedictorian Nelly Aranibar-Salomon Encourages Classmates to “Make the World a Better Place One Patient at a Time”


Introducing the graduates of the Winter 2018 Nursing class.

Nelly Aranibar-Salomon offered emotional reflections, inspired words for the future and a collective hug to her classmates.

From left are Nursing Education Director Liz Mizerek, Nursing Award winners Alaina Drager (Academic Excellence Award), Marleny Leon (Teamwork Award), Kelly Yanucil (Caring Award), Stephon Austin (Professionalism Award), Robin King (Clinical Excellence Award), and Xiaoling Lin (Perseverance Award), and Assistant Professor Florence Lee.

From left, faculty members Adena Romeo-Ratliff, Maria Molle and Tracy Scaletti in candle lighting ceremony that dates back to Florence Nightingale and symbolizes enlightenment and knowledge. 

From left, reciting the Nightingale Pledge are Ashley O’Connor, Thomas Morpeth, Marina Mikhail, and Kevin Martinez.

The inaugural members of MCCC's Epsilon Rho Chapter of the Alpha Delta Nu Nursing Honor Society. From left, Professor Lisa Dunn, with inductees Kelly Yanucil, Ashley O'Connor, Robin King, Meghan Kane, Courtney Flesch, Alaina Drager and Nelly Aranibar-Salomon.

West Windsor, N.J. – The 26 graduates of the Winter 2018 Nursing Class of Mercer County Community College (MCCC) gathered to celebrate with a Pinning Ceremony on January 9 at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre.

With faculty, administrators and families looking on, the students were recognized for excellence as they reflected on the sacrifices made and challenges met during their years of rigorous academic and clinical study in Mercer’s A.S. in Nursing degree program.

MCCC President Jianping Wang commended the graduates for their commitment to learning and their choice to pursue nursing, and for the family members who supported their success.

“You have overcome significant obstacles to be here tonight. We salute your persistence and welcome you into a noble profession,”   she said.

Dr. Wang pointed to the next goal for graduates, the passage of the National Council Licensure Examination, the national licensing exam for nurses.  She challenged them to follow in the footsteps of the 35 graduates from the May 2017 class, who were the first to complete MCCC’s revised, concept-based nursing curriculum, established in Fall 2015.

“There is a 100 percent pass rate for those who have taken the exam,” Wang said. (Thirty-two graduates have taken the exam thus far and all have passed.)

In her emotional remarks to her classmates, Class Valedictorian Nelly Aranibar-Salomon said, “I am full of admiration and gratitude to all of you for how we helped each other. Let’s use our power to make the world a better place one patient at a time. We have the tools and the will, and we are stronger than we ever knew,” she said.

“It’s our passion for the field that made us persevere,” Aranibar-Salomon continued. “There were lots of sacrifices – long nights of studying after day jobs or putting kids to bed. We have been pushed by our instructors to grow and find strength within ourselves. Now it’s up to us to be the best nurses we can be.  We will look back at this moment as the start of a life well-lived.”

Nursing Director Elizabeth Mizerek presided over the ceremony, recalling hard work not only by students, but by the faculty that supported them. She noted that every nursing faculty member has credentials that make them particularly qualified. “Each one of our instructors has a specialty area and has earned a master’s degree and additional certifications,” she said.

Six students were honored with Nursing Graduate Awards: Stephon Austin (Professionalism Award); Alaina Drager (Academic Excellence Award); Robin King (Clinical Excellence Award); Marleny Leon (Teamwork Award); Xiaoling Lin (Perseverance Award); and Kelly Yanucil (Caring Award).

The ceremony included the induction of seven students into MCCC’s newly formed Epsilon Rho Chapter of the Alpha Delta Nu Nursing Honor Society in recognition of academic excellence. The inductees included Aranibar-Salomon, Drager, King and Yanucil, along with Courtney Flesch, Meghan Kane, and Ashley O’Connor.

In keeping with the tradition of their profession, the students concluded the ceremony by reading the Nightingale Pledge, vowing to “do all in my power to make and maintain the highest standards and practices of my profession...and to constantly endeavor to increase my knowledge and skills in nursing and to use them wisely.”

Nursing Program Curriculum

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