Skip to content


In Honor of International Nurses Day: Four Master of Nursing Students Shine in the Spotlight

Written by Bannon Puckett on May 12, 2021

Related content: Graduate Programs

Today for International Nurses Day—which brings National Nurses Week to a close on Florence Nightingale’s 201st birthday—we celebrate all the women and men working on the frontlines of healthcare as registered nurses, nurse practitioners, LPNs, and more.

The following stories shine a spotlight on four students from three of our university partners’ online master’s programs in nursing: Simmons University, Georgetown University, and USC.

Mary Kathleen Haber

A Deeper Connection

After 15 years working as a public health researcher, community advocate, and registered nurse, Mary Kathleen Haber craved deeper connections with those she was helping. She decided to pursue a master’s degree through the Nursing@Simmons program and train to become a nurse practitioner.

“As a nurse practitioner, I would have more autonomy in partnering with, advocating for, and creating treatment plans alongside the people in my care,” she said.

The unique hybrid model of the Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program caught her interest. Mary enjoyed being able to learn from top faculty, interact with peers from all over the country, and practice in her local community in Baltimore, some 400 miles away from Simmons University’s physical campus.

Today, Mary serves as a nurse practitioner and educator for an organization that provides healthcare to Baltimore’s most at-risk populations. “I have a deep-rooted confidence in my ability to offer high-quality and compassionate care to the people I work with,” she said.

Annabelle and Isabel Vives

All in the Family

Mother-and-daughter Isabel and Annabelle Vives are not only both registered nurses, they were also both enrolled in the Master of Science program with Nursing@USC, training to become nurse practitioners.

A registered nurse who’s been working in California for nearly 30 years, Isabel received her undergraduate nursing degree in the Philippines in 1990. Early on in her career, she had considered becoming a nurse practitioner, but kids, life, and overcoming cancer delayed her dreams. She decided it was finally time to pursue her master’s degree.

Once accepted by USC, Isabel encouraged her daughter to enroll. Annabelle said her family is from the Ilocos region of the Philippines. “We’re called Ilocanos and we’re known to be very hard-working and caring,” she explained. “I think it’s just in our blood to want to help people.”

While Isabel’s goal is to become a primary care provider and advocate for patients of lower socio-economic status at a clinic, Annabelle plans to continue working as an oncology nurse and certified chemotherapy administrator. Getting licensed as a nurse practitioner will offer her options when she decides to start a family.

James Byass-Rascoe

Military Might

James Byass-Rascoe transitioned from a Navy career to nursing after discovering a passion for caregiving.

Following a nine-year stint in the Navy Nuclear Program, he started working in a shipyard and then a military academy for at-risk youth. While taking care of his ill cadets, James realized he wanted to become a nurse. So he earned his BSN from University of Pittsburgh, taking a position in the Cardiothoracic ICU at UPMC Presbyterian soon thereafter.

James wanted to continue to train as a nurse practitioner, but with a wife and son, he needed the flexibility to keep working. He decided to pursue a Master of Science from Nursing@Georgetown through the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) program and is now one of its student ambassadors.

“I knew I was going to receive a quality education from the moment I was accepted into the program,” James said.

The World in Their Hands

As America’s most trusted profession, nurses have not only been the backbone in the fight against the global pandemic—but with their expertise, compassion, and courage, they also continue to ensure so much of the world’s physical and mental well-being.

Today and every day, we celebrate nurses everywhere. They’re needed now more than ever.

Learn more about us.

At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help universities thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.