China Mattex shares her story

"As a student in Cosby High School’s Health Science Specialty Center, I knew that nursing was the career for me. Even then I had my heart set on going to VCU because of everything I heard from everyone I spoke to about their nursing program.

"The challenge was, they only accept 60 students each year. When I found out about the Guaranteed Admission Program through the Honors College, I knew I had to take a chance and apply because that would secure a spot for me. Not only did I get accepted to Honors College, but got a University Provost Scholarship. In year one I was already on the way to achieving my goals.

"In the spring I began taking clinical nursing courses. That’s when I knew without a doubt that this is a career that I’ll never stop enjoying. After learning that I could gain real experience through VCU Medical Center, I accepted a position as a Supplemental Student Nurse Care Partner. I am actually starting a new job in my career this summer. 

"Being a member of the Honors College has afforded me opportunities and expanded my horizons in ways I was not expecting."

"During freshman year I also started volunteering for the local deaf community through a deaf ministry. Learning American Sign Language has been so exciting. I’ve always been told I speak with my hands, so why not actually speak with my hands? It opens up whole new relationships and a new culture. I’ve already used it to communicate with a deaf hospital volunteer, and I plan to integrate ASL into my practice because so many deaf people do not get the health care they need due to the “language” barrier.

"When I got to VCU, I couldn’t believe the diversity. That, and attending some Berglund Seminars at the Honors College spurred my interest in my African-American culture, specifically women’s health and civil rights. I’ve turned that into my other goal — completing an African-American Studies minor.

"Being a member of the Honors College has afforded me opportunities and expanded my horizons in ways I was not expecting. I never knew that I would be able to start my nursing career so early, and I didn’t know I had such an interest in African-American Studies until I had the chance to try it out. Being a part of VCU’s Honors College has already opened so many doors."