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Inspired to serve others through nursing

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Koker Hernandez, nursing student at NWTC

Koker Hernandez

Nursing student

Inspired to serve others through nursing

Hernandez shares his higher ed journey

Koker Hernandez is focused on a future in nursing. His passion for the medical field began about 16 years ago when his brother, age 3 at the time, was battling a serious illness. Hernandez and his family were racked with worry.

“The compassionate nurses got us through some of the worst moments in our lives,” he said.

Set to graduate from the NWTC Nursing-Associate Degree program in December 2023, Hernandez is ready to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families. A testament to his dedication, Hernandez received the Nursing program’s Outstanding Student Award last spring.

Like many students, Hernandez’s higher ed journey hasn’t been a straight path. For example, he originally planned to attend NWTC for just a semester or two before transferring to UW-Green Bay’s bachelor of nursing program. After one semester at NWTC, however, he was hooked.

“I fell in love with NWTC and decided to finish my degree here,” said Hernandez.

Read more about Hernandez’s experience, below, in his own words.

My “why”

When my 3-year-old brother fell ill, the doctors came in and told us he only had about a 15% chance to survive. We were devastated. Thankfully, the compassionate nurses listened to our cries, held our hands, and got us through some of the worst moments of our lives.

Miraculously, my brother survived, and the nursing staff was almost as elated as we were! My brother was only 3 when he was handed a death-sentence…now he’s 19 and starting his academic endeavors at NWTC! Thanks to those nurses, we all survived. Now I want to be the one giving hope and comfort to families in dire need of both. 

I hope to become a traveling ICU nurse one day and eventually go back to school to become a nurse anesthetist. But first, I need to garner some experience in the healthcare field before I jump in to caring for the sickest of the sick. 

I had planned on getting my nursing degree at UWGB but was denied based on my performance at my previous post-secondary institution. I was meant to only go to NWTC for a semester or two, to prove myself a worthy candidate for UWGB. After completing my first semester here, I met the criteria they were looking for, but I fell in love with NWTC and decided to finish my degree here. 

Proud NWTC student (soon to be graduate!)

I won’t lie to you, my thoughts on technical colleges were not at all the reality of what NWTC is. I was surprised to see such a diverse conglomerate of students, professors, and leaders within this school! They have all the resources I could ever need and create more opportunities for students than I’ve ever seen a school do. I’m proud to tell people that I’m an NWTC student, soon to be NWTC graduate in December of 2023!

I’m currently a student nurse technician at Bellin Hospital, and I could not be more grateful for this opportunity! I practice my nursing skills under the license of a registered nurse. I work with my own patients and collaborate with other nurses on my unit, doctors, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, and many other medical professionals within Bellin Health.

Grateful for friends and support

I give a lot of credit to my study partners and to NWTC for where I am now, but a lot of credit goes to the people who help fund my education! I received several scholarships from donors who saw the value in investing in my future. I am grateful to them for believing in me and giving me the resources to push forward in my academic journey. The scholarships were more than just money, they were a message to me and my family that we belong in this country and have so much more to prove!

NWTC is more than just an affordable technical college. It is safe haven for all walks of life and a beacon of opportunity for the most determined students. If you start to drown, NWTC has the resources to pull you back up and push you towards success. Take advantage of Academic Coaching and Tutoring, Counseling Services, Student Support, and all the other programs NWTC has to offer! 

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