Rachael Shoaf is a member of the first class in Cleveland Community College’s standalone Associate Degree Nursing program. As she begins her first year as a nursing student, Shoaf has already distinguished herself. Prior to beginning the year, Shoaf was selected to participate in Cohort 5 of the North Carolina Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Scholars Program.
“I am honored to be chosen for AHEC Cohort 5!” she said. “I’m looking forward to building a network with students who have similar goals and getting some extra volunteer opportunities in the community.”
The two-year program brings together students in a variety of healthcare programs and from different regions across North Carolina. The scholars complete 40 hours of instruction and 40 hours of clinical work each year.
Shoaf, who is a first-generation college graduate, already has a bachelor’s degree in biology from UNC-Charlotte. She currently works as a lab technician in her employer’s research and development department. She decided to go back to school to become a nurse because, “I want to be a part of making people’s lives better.” She considered several nursing programs before choosing CCC. “CCC’s program fits my schedule and my budget. Plus, the instructors here are so kind and very, very helpful.”
After completing the NC AHEC Scholars program and graduating from CCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program, Shoaf plans to continue her education. Her goal is to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. “I’m not sure of which area, but I know I want to work with low-income families,” she said.