Amy van Loon ’14 and Nora McKay ’14 are heading to New Haven this fall, where they will attend Yale School of Nursing. The prestigious program is regularly ranked as one of the top 10 graduate nursing schools in the country, making van Loon and McKay future leaders in the field. Van Loon and McKay will both study in the maternity nursing and midwife specialty.
“I think almost every aspect of my time at HWS helped to prepare me for a rigorous academic program, like Yale, in some way,” reflects van Loon. “I worked with [Professor] Erin Pelkey for three years doing organic chemistry research and this taught me about how to be a leader, how to problem solve, how to properly design any kind of experiment or study, and how to write and think like a true academic.”
In addition to Pelkey, Van Loon thanks Assistant Professor of Theatre Chris Hatch who directed three stage shows that she participated in.
Graduating with a bachelor of science in chemistry, van Loon also volunteered as a technician for campus Emergency Medical Services, and shadowed a certified nurse-midwife at Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua. Van Loon was also a member of wood ensemble and actively involved in the music department.
Van Loon shares an enthusiasm for both healthcare and theater with McKay, making the stage the birthplace of a unique and enduring friendship. After their graduation last May, the two moved in together with several other friends.
“We’ve taken this year to lay the groundwork for the next step. For Amy and I, it meant figuring out how on earth to apply to these programs, which programs to apply to, and working on the side,” says McKay.
Van Loon is currently a critical care technician in the intensive care unit at Geneva General Hospital, while McKay works at Three Brothers Winery.
During her time at HWS, McKay majored in women’s studies and French, starred in several theatre productions, was a member of Perfect Third, co-ed a cappella group, and shadowed midwives in Canandaigua.
Describing midwifery as a “calling,” McKay’s passion for women’s health began in high school and was expanded by her women’s studies curriculum at HWS. However, her enthusiasm gave her the freedom to explore other subjects as well.
“The real value of my time at HWS was in taking courses that weren’t strictly related to health professions,” explains McKay. “I think that having a liberal arts education is absolutely invaluable– no matter what you intend to do for the rest of your life. It helps you gain a more comprehensive perspective of the world, which is incredibly important no matter what field you decide to go into.”