Changing Health Care, Education, Politics, and More: The Class of 2014 Shares its Dreams

By Ed Carpenter, Office of Marketing Communications Posted Tue, 12/16/2014 - 16:00

When USF graduates walked across the stage to receive their diplomas on Dec. 12, their exalted smiles hardly betrayed that many were already thinking ahead to careers intent on changing the status quo — whether in health care, politics, or performing arts.

One of those was nursing graduate Asmara Gebre ’14, a childbirth educator and doula for the Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Program at San Francisco's Hilltop School. She plans to continue her education and become a nurse practitioner and midwife, focusing on pregnant teens. She has a sixth sense for their needs, fears, and dreams — perhaps because she once was one. Gebre gave birth to her daughter when she was just 18. And she wants pregnant teens to know it isn’t a dead end. It’s a new beginning.

It felt like a dream

“As (my daughter) grew within me, I knew she deserved better than what my situation at the time could ever offer,” Gebre said.

So, Gebre went back to high school and graduated. She attended community college and then transferred to USF. When she was admitted, it felt like a dream. But life didn’t get easier. After putting her daughter to bed and cleaning the house, she’d start homework at 10 p.m. and read late into the night. When she wasn’t in school, Gebre worked to near exhaustion. Then came her last semester at USF and clinical hours. She worked at San Francisco General Hospital from 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. three nights a week and attended classes the other days.

“At times, it was hard because (my daughter) witnessed many of my failed attempts, but she also shared the many joys that came along with persistence and determination,” Gebre said. On Friday, Gebre’s daughter was by her side, embracing and smiling up at her, all the while knowing how far she’d come as she received the School of Nursing and Health Professions’ Dean’s Medal for Promoting Professionalism.

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