Aurora Obembe, a senior in the NDSU School of Nursing in Fargo, was named the North Dakota Student Nurse of the Year. She received the honor from the North Dakota Nursing Students’ Association at the group’s annual convention in Dickinson, North Dakota.
NDSU nursing student Gabriel Eronmosele was named North Dakota Student Leader of the Year and faculty member Abigail Vetter was named Nurse Educator of the Year.
As Student Nurse of the Year for the state, Obembe participated in interviews along with candidates from nursing programs statewide. She has volunteered at an area cancer treatment center, during flu shot blitzes, at lactation support groups, for the Special Olympics and with a rheumatologist who researches how to best utilize nursing skills in outpatient settings.
“I chose to go into nursing because I believe it’s the perfect blend of art and science,” said Obembe. “We get to use medicine and the knowledge of science and combine that with our compassion and caring to really make a difference in patients’ lives and the community that we live.”
Obembe also works part-time as a direct care professional with people with disabilities and as a patient care technician in a hospital intensive care unit. She plans to pursue clinical nursing experience when she graduates and later hopes to attain a graduate degree in nursing education.
Eronmosele, a senior in nursing, was named North Dakota Student Leader of the Year. His education and other influences played a role “leading me to the realization that I do better when we all do well,” he said.
He served as a lab mentor for NDSU nursing students and also volunteers at the Salvation Army, at nursing homes and other community events. He served as treasurer for the NDSU Student Nursing Association.
Eromosele’s additional activities include college and national speech and debate competitions. He was inducted into the Blue Key Honor Society, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and Phi Kappa Phi, a collegiate honor society. A recipient of the Gunkelman Recognition Award from NDSU, he was recognized as someone who has made the most significant and unselfish contribution to a happy environment at NDSU.
When he graduates, Eronmosele hopes to work in North Dakota on a medical surgical unit and become involved in health care policy discussions as his career progresses.
In other honors, Abigail Vetter, assistant professor of practice in the NDSU School of Nursing, was named North Dakota Nurse Educator of the Year.
Vetter took an unconventional path to a nursing career. She began her professional life as an environmental engineer pursuing space studies. After having a family that included a daughter with a rare genetic condition who needed specialized medical care, her goals were redefined.
“I watched the interdisciplinary team join together to help her, and it soon dawned on me that I wanted to be part of that team – to make a difference to a child and a family at a time that they needed that help the most,” said Vetter.
Before Vetter began her nursing studies, her daughter Caroline passed away. After taking time to grieve and focus on family, she launched her studies and nursing career. As a board certified, acute care pediatric nurse practitioner, she continues her practice while teaching nursing students.
Abigail Kramer, a recent NDSU nursing graduate now working in Fargo, calls Vetter a special kind of educator. “She utilizes her role as a provider to share core information about current nursing care and the most up-to-date, evidence-based practice with students.”
Current nursing student Lauren Gietzen offered this assessment. “Abigail teaches students lessons that books don't offer,” she said.
Vetter said she once thought her career would involve pursuing stars in outer space as an environmental engineer.
“Now I know those stars to be the men and women who are supporting the healthy, the ailing, the newly born, and the dying. They stand watch at all hours of the day and night experiencing that journey, providing comfort, peace, and guidance,” said Vetter.
“Being a small part of the education of those stars and assisting them to reach their fullest potential is a significant part of my life’s journey. For that, and the little girl that helped me get there, I will be forever grateful.”