Passion for service leads graduate into nursing

One morning this past winter, Stacey Grimm awoke to a discouraging sight outside her Fremont, Ind. home: a heavy snowfall that threatened widespread road closures. With her husband away on business, Grimm took control, sliding into her red Columbia sports coat and insulated snow pants and spending the next two hours shoveling her long, rural driveway—a necessary task before she could begin her one-hour commute to Ivy Tech Community College Northeast for an 8 a.m. nursing exam.


She arrived early. A less-committed student would have slept in altogether.

“I’m a bit of a perfectionist on certain matters,” says Grimm, a spring magna cum laude graduate with a 3.84 GPA.

This mix of work ethic and persistence illustrates who Grimm is and why she was selected for the 2016 Melvin L. Curtis Award for Academic Excellence during Ivy Tech Northeast’s 46th annual Commencement ceremony at Memorial Coliseum on May 6. The award is the College’s highest honor for a graduating student based on academic achievement, community-service participation, and personal qualities.

Nursing faculty nominated Grimm because she excelled in clinical and didactic coursework, and she understood the complete role of a nurse and the teamwork required for optimal patient outcomes.

“She is a very kind person and exudes a quiet strength,” says Maria Hines, assistant professor of nursing. “She has a great ability to see actual problems for patients as well as potential ones. This is a great strength, especially in a newly graduated nurse.”

Nursing represents a career change for Grimm. For six years, she taught in both fourth-grade and kindergarten classrooms for Fremont Community Schools. But now, she has chosen to expand her commitment to helping others by joining the healthcare field.

“It is even better that part of a nurse’s role is to teach patients and family members,” Grimm says. “As a result, I get to call upon skills from my previous degree and career.”

While pursuing an Associate of Science in Nursing, Grimm served as a nurse technician at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in Angola, Ind., assisting registered nurses to gather patients’ vital signs and educate patients on topics such as safe approaches to walking and best practices for hygiene. Grimm also volunteered to teach a safe sleep class at Parkview Health, showing expectant mothers how to ensure their newborn slept in the safest environment and position possible.

Grimm’s dedication toward patient care comes as no surprise to Hines, who taught her in several nursing classes.

“Her potential for professional growth is limitless,” Hines says. “I think everything I feel about her can be summed up in a sentence: If I am ever in the hospital, I hope Stacey is the nurse who takes care of me.”

As Grimm accepted her award at the Commencement podium and shared a few words of gratitude, she scanned the crowd to make eye contact with her sons, Adler, 5, and Mick, 3.

“The best feeling was seeing my two sons elated and cheering for me when my name was announced,” Grimm says. “They are young and did not understand all of the aspects of me going back to school. However, they did see me studying all of the time and working hard to achieve this goal. If nothing else, I was able to model for my children the importance of hard work and sticking with the goals you want to achieve.”

(Click on image to zoom in and view slideshow)

Graduation Highlights

More than 700 associate degrees, certificates, and technical certificates awarded

Keynote Address Speaker
Kevin Wall, activist, investor, new media entrepreneur, producer, and Fort Wayne native

Commencement Student Speaker
Elizabeth Powers, liberal arts/Accelerated Associate Program (ASAP)

Outstanding Student Awards by School

  • Rebecca Marshall, School of Applied Science & Engineering Technology
  • Faith Robison, School of Business
  • Suzanne Sherk, School of Computing & Informatics
  • Corey Smith, School of Education
  • Ashley Perkins, School of Fine Arts & Design
  • Renea Counterman, School of Health Sciences
  • Rachel Mitchell, School of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Stacey Grimm, School of Nursing
  • Angela Helms, School of Public & Social Services
  • Robert Dyer, School of Technology

Melvin L. Curtis Award for Academic Excellence
Stacey Grimm, nursing

Larry Lee Award for Excellence in Instruction (Full-Time Faculty)
Christine Barlow, assistant professor of life sciences

Adjunct Faculty Award for Excellence in Instruction (Part-Time Faculty)
Nikki Kyle, respiratory therapy instructor

Honorary Degree Recipients
Associate of Science in College and Community Service
Dennis Kruse, Indiana Senator–14th District
Tim Borne, founder, Asher Agency

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