SWIC alum goes from high school dropout to hopeful doctorate holder
SWIC alum Michael Lemp of Pontoon Beach, economic reality, a lack of support
for education in his working-class family and falling in with a bad crowd led him
to drop out of school at 16 in the 1990s.
choice led to another reality. “As a high school dropout, I realized I had very
few options in life. I felt limited bagging groceries and working on
horseradish farms. I knew I wanted something more,” he said.
turned to then Belleville Area College’s Adult Basic Education department for
help. His first step was to earn his GED certificate, which he did, in
used the confidence and skills he gained through the GED program to tackle his
next goal – an Associate in Arts degree in psychology in 1999. “More than earning
a GED, you learn to dream and succeed. The program made me realize that the
ability to succeed is a simple choice, which is put into action by
determination,” he said.
he now was. After completing his AA degree and working in emergency room and
ambulance settings, he enrolled in and completed the EMTP Emergency Medical
Technician program in 2002 to help him work more hands-on with patients. “The Paramedic
program at SWIC was the most highly regarded in the St. Louis region. Between
my previous experience at SWIC and the reputation of the Paramedic program, the
choice was obvious,” he said.
wasn’t all though. A Nursing Education degree was in his sights as his desire
to provide a higher level of patient care again crept into his thoughts. He
reached that goal in 2010 when he received his Associate in Applied Science
degree in nursing education. He went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees
in nursing over the course of the next three years. Within the next year, he
hopes to enroll in a doctor of nursing practice program.
now uses the skills he learned to provide care to patients as a PRN Admission
Nurse for Hospice of Southern Illinois and as a nurse practitioner for Livewell
Centers, a chiropractic-run holistic health center in Belleville.
goal, however, is to learn how best to integrate research and evidence-based
practice into everyday practice. “Research integration is paramount to
providing the best patient care. More important to me than the ‘dream job,’ the
DNP is important to me in regards of dream practice. I don’t want to offer
great care. I want to provide the best care.”
father of five says he’d like to see a National Electronic Health Record,
something he covered as a master’s project. He also notes he’d love to someday
teach and share the love of education he garnered from the folks who helped him
earn his GED and maybe one day return to SWIC to teach future nurses. “The
great teachers at SWIC have given me so much. I would love to be able to pass
that on to the next generation of nurses.”
advice to the next generations of students – his own five children – is simple:
“My best advice to them is that learning is the key to freedom. Be it
financial, political or philosophical, freedom can only be obtained through
critical evaluation. To be critical, one must be educated and have the ability
to challenge the beliefs of oneself and others.”
From Blue Storm to Red Sox
Head Baseball Coach Neil Fiala, left, meets up with former Blue Storm baseball player Tom Layne before a recent St. Louis Cardinals game. Layne was in town pitching for the Boston Red Sox.
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Check out SWIC Alumni in the News!
- Granite City policewoman Lizzie Varga is the only female on a SWAT team in the Metro East.
See more of her story at KSDK.com.
- Impact Strategies President Mark Hinrichs' company is leading the way development of the Fairview Heights area.
Read more about Mark's projects.
- Artist Cbabi Bayoc has created a "365 Days of Dad" project. View his artwork.
- Mother of seven and Roger A. Giannini Memorial Scholarship recipient Belinda Carroll graduated from SWIC this spring.
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