Caring for others has always been a passion for Ashley Wallner, class of 2020 Bachelor of Science in Nursing student at Bellin College. Ashley was a certified medical assistant at a clinic in Wisconsin Rapids before coming to Bellin College for a nursing degree to add to her list of attributes of wife and mom to three girls: Calleigh, 10, Braelynn, 7, and Peytton, 4.
It wasn’t until she gave birth to her first child that she identified her interest in nursing and women’s health.
“My labor and delivery nurse sparked my interest for nursing and women’s health, but at that time, being a new mom and going to school to be a medical assistant, I didn’t think going to nursing school was going to be feasible,” she said. “Little by little, I took classes and applied for the associate degree nursing program at the local technical college in my hometown.”
A chance call and relocation helped lead her to where she is today — nearing graduation in May 2020.
“On delivery day for my third daughter, my husband received the call that his job had been promoted and we needed to relocate to Green Bay,” Ashley said. “I knew taking classes one at a time was not going to get me very far, so I searched out colleges. Bellin College was a perfect fit. I jumped into nursing school with both feet and three young children and haven’t looked back.”
While not always knowing she wanted to go into nursing, Ashley knew she wanted to help people. She also recently participated in the college’s medical mission trip to Guatemala.
“I told everyone growing up I was going to do two things in my life, I was going to be a mom and I was going to help people or animals,” she said. “I have helped many people through my work in healthcare, but my most rewarding experience of helping people has left me humbled and forever changed. Helping people in Guatemala made me realize how much more I wanted to help people.”
Upon graduation, Ashley hopes to work in labor and delivery after passing the NCLEX exam to become a registered nurse.
“There may be plans to return to school in the future for my master’s degree, but I would like to gain experience and get settled before I fully decide,” she said.
Financial aid including the Wisconsin Grant helps make college a reality for many other students across the state, just like Ashley.
“Without the help of grants such as the Wisconsin Grant, I would not be able to attend college full time while my family lives mainly off of one income,” Ashley said. “Financial aid has allowed me to continue to be in college with less worry about where the money may come from.”