Working at Children’s Minnesota, one of the largest freestanding pediatric health systems in the United States, has long been a dream for Megan Naldoza Abagat, of Eagan, Minn. So it’s no surprise that her program of choice at Winona State University was Nursing.

“I chose WSU based on its exemplary and reputable nursing program,” Abagat said. “The WSU nursing program conducts clinicals at Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned hospital. Knowing this, I am confident that I can make connections (all over the healthcare world).”

Connections made within the Winona State community were also influential on Abagat’s path to a degree.

“The support and guidance provided by my nursing professors played a significant role in boosting my confidence in my nursing skills,” she explained. “I wish I had discovered earlier the abundance of resources available at WSU! Whenever you have a question, simply reach out to a faculty member, and they will direct you to the appropriate person.”

During her four years at Winona State, Abagat ended up studying at both the Winona and Rochester campuses.

“Initially, I hadn’t considered the Rochester campus as an option, but it turned out to be the best two years I had at WSU,” she said. “I discovered more about who I am as a nurse, as a student, and as a person. The experiences I had in Rochester are something I will always cherish deeply.”

As she prepares to graduate from Winona State and begin her dream job on the Inpatient Mental Health unit at the Children’s Minnesota St. Paul campus, Abagat is proud of what her Nursing degree means to her family and to her future.

“My family and I immigrated to America from the Philippines when I was six years old,” she said. “(I am not a first-generation student), but I am the first in my family to receive a bachelor’s degree in America.”

“At WSU, I’ve gained invaluable knowledge about the duties and sacrifices necessary to pursue this dream of mine,” she continued. “I owe a debt of gratitude not only to my nursing professors, but also to the mentorship provided by senior nursing students who guided and encouraged me.”

The many lessons she learned at Winona State – the importance of advocacy and standing up for her beliefs, placing priority on self-care, the significance of community – will serve her well in the years ahead, said Abagat.

“I am committed to carrying these lessons forward, knowing that I will forever be a part of the community of learners nurtured by WSU.”