"As an advanced practice registered nurse, this degree will enable me to help others improve their health-related quality of life."
Kaylee Armendariz’s determination to succeed is apparent in the obstacles she has overcome. Her newest tool for success will be a Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree at the University of Arkansas.
“I am a first-generation college student, work full time as a nurse, and have a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old,” said Armendariz, a certified rehabilitation registered nurse in a rehabilitation facility in Fayetteville. “Earning this degree will pave the way for my own children to succeed in their educational endeavors. As an advanced practice registered nurse, this degree will enable me to help others improve their health-related quality of life.”
Multiple life experiences prepared Armendariz to be successful in an online degree program, among them divorce, death and financial hardship, she said.
“I was raised in a single parent household,” she said. “My mother struggled with substance abuse disorder and my parents divorced when I was three years old. My father became a single parent to me and my brother. Despite his limited income, my father pushed my brother and I to excel in academics and extracurricular activities. He was determined that my brother and I would be the first in our family to graduate college. The summer before my senior year of high school, my father was killed in an accident. It was incredibly difficult to return to school and continue to perform well while also applying to colleges and grieving the death of my single parent. I started working full time in a healthcare job at age 18 to pay for my own living expenses while attending the University of Arkansas undergraduate program. I got into the nursing program after two years and continued to work full time at local healthcare facilities as a nurse’s assistant.”
Armendariz was one of 23 people to receive the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship for online U of A students for the 2020-2021 academic year. She plans to practice as a primary care provider in Northwest Arkansas.
“It is very special to be acknowledged for my work as an online student,” Armendariz said. “It can feel like invisible work sometimes as I am generally working alone while my kids are asleep. I have continued to progress throughout the Doctor of Nursing Practice program and am on track to graduate May of 2021. I believe my success is due to the grit my father instilled in me at a young age. Overall, I believe my determination to succeed is apparent in the obstacles I have overcome.”