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BSN graduates are committed to service in MSU Army ROTC


Patrick Byrne, Emily Evers, and Caitlin Mather, 2024 BSN graduates, knew that they wanted to care for people upon entering college. They all decided to double-down on that call to serve by joining the nursing college and the Army ROTC program at MSU. The newly commissioned second lieutenants are ready to serve in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps after graduating this spring.

Byrne was highly interested in pursuing a medical career before starting college. Nursing was the best choice as he values making a direct impact on people’s lives with bedside care.

“It’s a privilege to support people at their most vulnerable moments,” said Byrne. “It’s a huge responsibility, and it’s something that I deeply value.”

Evers has always had an interest in medicine. Having nurses in her family opened a career path for her in nursing, finding a passion for helping others.

“I like the frontline of nurses, being out there, and being an advocate for patients,” said Evers.

For Mather, caregiving was already a key part of her life. She attributes her love of nursing to caring for her family. Her younger sister was born with Down syndrome, and her grandfather needed assistance with cancer treatments late in life.

“When I went into nursing school, I didn't understand nurses' roles,” said Mather. “But it's very similar to the role I played for my sister and my grandpa, so I’ve always been in a caretaking role”

Byrne was dedicated to serving in the military before he enrolled at MSU. The MSU ROTC program offered a perfect combination to pursue nursing and military service.

Evers was set on joining the military after learning about her uncle’s experience in the program. She received scholarship to attend any higher education institution that had an Army ROTC program. Similar to Byrne, joining the ROTC was the best of both worlds for Evers.

“I don’t think it’s promoted as well. Sometimes it’s either you go to college or you enlist in the military,” said Evers. “Having my uncle tell me about the program was really helpful.”

Mather was encouraged to join the Army ROTC to follow her grandfather’s and her husband’s footsteps. Her grandfather was a Vietnam veteran in the Army while her husband serves in the Marine Corps.

Mather, similar to Byrne and Evers, received added incentive to join the military when she received the Army ROTC scholarship. The fund covers all college expenses if a student is in good standing with their institution’s ROTC program.

“I didn’t really expect to go to college,” said Mather. “So, when I got the scholarship, I remember I was in school. I got the email, and I knew I had a good chance to go.”

MSU’s Army ROTC program has strenuous time commitments, like the extensive schedules of nursing studies. All nursing students collaborate with brigade nurse counselors to ensure that the cadets can complete their nursing requirements while keep on top of their ROTC responsibilities.

The graduates have plenty of training ahead of them post-graduation. However, they already have their goals set for their specializations. Byrne would prefer to pursue an assignment in an intensive care unit. Evers wants to specialize in ER nursing, citing that she found field exercises with other military healthcare personnel exciting. Mather plans to pursue labor and delivery. She adores children, and she is excited to see medically complex cases that go to military health facilities.

The officers find many connections between their nursing and military passions. It’s easy for them to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. Byrne, Evers, and Mather concur that caring for patients and serving in the military have “working towards a bigger purpose” engrained into their missions.

“The U.S.’s most important resource is its people,” said Byrne. “The military, especially the medical service people, are healing and protecting America’s most valuable resource. I feel like I’m connected to that important cause that extends beyond my individual self.”