For Josephine Strutz, Winona State became her home away from home, where she not only pursued a degree in Nursing, but also found a community that supported her.

To graduate and leave my home is heartbreaking, but that means that it was loved. I am so proud of this university for its love for students shown each and every day.

Josephine Strutz

Commencement Speaker, Winona State University

During her college journey, Strutz realized the importance of making the most of one’s college experience.

“If you start introducing yourself to peers, professors, and staff, you will build your network and support system,” she said. “The scariest part is taking the first step, but I promise it will be worth it every time.”

In addition to the typical problems faced by many college students, Strutz faced the particular challenges of the Nursing program: clinical experiences all hours of the day and night, experiencing the full spectrum of life from birth to death, and, on top of that, navigating the complexity of entering the Nursing program amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was taught resiliency and adaptability by these experiences, and they have shaped me into the nurse I will become,” said Strutz. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

After graduation, Strutz will move to Honolulu, Hawaii, to work in a long-term care facility. In the future, she plans on returning to school to receive her Doctorate of Nursing Practice.

Strutz’s main piece of advice for future Warriors is to use the resources offered to you and build connections whenever you can.

“I will always remember all the resources available to me to help me succeed, and I cannot wait to see how Winona State will grow to further help the next generation of students.”