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UTEP nursing grad defies the odds, offers inspirational message to others

The UTEP nursing school seal and building.
The UTEP nursing school seal and building.

EL PASO, Texas -- The UTEP nursing program is one of the toughest in the nation.  Add being a single mother to three children with no support system in El Paso, and its nearly impossible.

But Marion Oveal White was up for the challenge.

Her last child was born almost 4 months premature.  Weighing a little over one pound, the child fought for her life every day.

While White spent time in the hospital, the nurses kept her abreast to everything that was going on.

That's when she knew it was her calling to become a nurse.

"She was severely premature, she came out one pound, two ounces and that was one of the toughest situations of my life.  I felt totally helpless like there was nothing I could do, she struggled for life daily.  And so the nurses that worked with her included me in everything.  They included me in the rounds, explained to me exactly what was going on.  I started participating and suggesting things for the doctor to do and after that, I thought this is exactly what I'm called to do.  There is no question about it.  I am supposed to be a nurse," White explained.

Coming from Cleveland, Ohio with just her children in tow, White had to make or break it.

"Before moving to El Paso, I had never been here before. So I basically stepped out on faith, didn't know anything about El Paso per say besides the nursing program.  So here it was just me and my children," White observed about her move.

While raising her kids, working a job and maintaining her 3.3 GPA, White had to rely on scholarships to progress in the program.  She thought that her last semester was in jeopardy due to the inability to make the final payments.  That's when Project Arriba came in: They paid off her final semester so White could begin her career.

White has a message to other students out there struggling and in her same predicament.

"My situation seemed impossible just to even hear the various details, it seems like there is no way she should be graduating that she should have made it through the program. But I just want everyone to know its possible, just through perseverance, faith, determination you can do it," she said.

Wil Herren

Wil Herren is an ABC-7 reporter who covers both news and sports.


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