Nursing Student and Alumni Profiles

From international internship experiences to student organization leadership, hear from current and recent students about their experiences in the Wegmans School of Nursing.

Aura Rivera ’18

Aura Rivera

Aura Rivera

Aura Rivera ’18 has done a lot in just three years at Fisher. In addition to dancing with student club Arts in Motion, and serving as a manager for the Donald E. Bain Campus Center, the junior nursing major is a mentor for first- and second-year students in the Higher Educational Opportunity Program.

And, the New York City native has managed to engage in not one, but two study abroad trips, including a semester in Perth, Australia and a week-long course in Fiji.

“Fisher gave me the opportunity to engage in the most life-changing experiences of my life,” she says.

Along with the exciting international experiences her Fisher education afforded her, Aura said the coursework in the Wegmans School of Nursing has helped her develop a deep passion for a career in nursing. And, the professors, she said, inspire her to become a great nurse.

“When I go to clinical and take care of my patients, I feel so happy,” she said. “I feel like I am making a difference in someone’s life and this is just the beginning.”

Yilmaz Ates ’19

Yilmaz Ates (center) at the 2018 Relay for LIfe at Fisher.

Yilmaz Ates (center) at the 2018 Relay for LIfe at Fisher.

Yilmaz Ates ’19 made the most of his college experience, saying it’s been a time of transformation, independence, and excitement.

“Take the opportunities that Fisher offers,” he said. “Some of the best friends and memories I have made were because I took every opportunity offered to me. I can proudly say that I do not regret the decisions I have made while being a student at Fisher.”

For Yilmaz, a native of Carthage, New York, those opportunities have led to involvement with Colleges Against Cancer, where he organized Fisher’s Relay for Life event. He also spent three years as a member of the Orientation Team, and it has led him to Kingston, Jamaica, where he volunteered with a weeklong youth camp.

As a First-Generation Scholar, Yilmaz had the chance to serve the Rochester community, working in a school setting and volunteering at area nonprofits. A nursing major, Yilmaz capped off his college career with a trip to Kenya to complete his nursing preceptorship.

Margaret “Maggie” Rustowicz, '19

Nursing Instructor Erie 1 BOCES

Maggie Rustowicz

Maggie Rustowicz

From a young age, Maggie Rustowicz ’19 knew she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. Her father was a first responder, and as a teen, she served as a Fire Cadet and learned about emergency medicine. “I saw how much of a difference my dad made attending calls, saving lives, and helping others.”;

As a nursing instructor at Erie 1 BOCES, Rustowicz works with high school students to prepare them for careers in nursing and other health care professions. Working with students from the Buffalo area is something she finds rewarding, sharing, “This program can really guide students to be successful, creating a bright future, and bettering themselves.”

Rustowicz describes her professors at the Wegmans School of Nursing as empathetic, independent, and hardworking. Their commitment to patient care had a profound effect on her nursing career, sparking an interest in nursing education. Her work with high school students confirmed her passion for teaching nursing. She is enrolled in a graduate nursing education program and looks forward to a career at the collegiate level while maintaining a part-time nursing career.;

“The personal relationships I had with both faculty and staff made me the nurse I am today,” she affirmed. “My Fisher education helped me not only realize what goals I had for my career but helped me achieve them by forming connections with people in my field and by providing me with internships in both Rochester and Buffalo.”

Rustowicz advises students to take their time finding their professional path and to feel comfortable changing jobs, continuing their education, or exploring career options. ”There are countless opportunities in the world and Fisher will prepare you for anything,” she noted.

She credits her time at Fisher for teaching her to be courageous, as well as giving her the skills and confidence needed to work as a nurse during a global pandemic. “Fisher molded me into the person I am today, the nurse I wanted to be, and showed me the instructor I strive to be,” Rustowicz shared. “Nothing compares to a Fisher Nurse."

Elizabeth Hall ’17

Elizabeth Hall

Elizabeth Hall

Former student ambassador Elizabeth Hall ’17 tells perspective students on her campus tours that the best thing to do once at Fisher is to get involved.

“By getting involved, you’ll feel more included and part of the Fisher community. Study hard, but also make time for yourself and to have fun,” she said, adding that there’s no better place to do that than the Donald E. Bain Campus Center. “The Campus Center is the heart of Fisher’s campus; students are constantly there hanging out and having a good time.”

Elizabeth’s four years on campus included serving as a wellness peer educator, member of the Teddi Dance for Love committee, and Orientation leader, among other activities. As a nursing major, she took a leadership role in the Wegmans School of Nursing, serving as a class representative in the Student Nurses Association.

In the classroom, Elizabeth said a service-learning project in the Palliative/End of Life course through the nursing program exposed her to a completely different type of nursing than what she had previously experienced in her clinical rotations.

“Throughout this course, I learned what it is like to be a nurse at a Palliative Care facility - there you’re not just caring for the patients, you’re also caring for their families and loved ones,” she explained, noting that one of her favorite parts of the profession are the many different paths a nurse can take. “After this experience, I would absolutely consider a position in Hospice or Palliative Care, whereas I might not have without this hands on experience.”

Lindsey Michaud ’17

Lindsey Michaud

Lindsey Michaud

For Lindsey Michaud ’17, losing her grandfather to cancer during her senior year of high school inspired her to help others who have been touched by the disease. 

“I wanted to do something for his legacy, do something that would make him proud,” said Lindsey, who was instinctually drawn to Fisher’s Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) club.

Through CAC, she took a leadership role with the College’s annual Relay for Life, serving as co-president for two years, and as a senior advisor in 2017. In Lindsey’s four years with CAC, the group raised more than $86,000 through Relay.

A nursing graduate, Lindsey’s education allowed her to put that desire into action. Shadowing nurses in the oncology unit at Unity Hospital, and working with hospice patients in the Webster Comfort Care Home through a service-learning course, her community service and education paired together to prepare her for a career with the Wilmot Cancer Center. She now works on the sixth floor of the center, in the bone marrow transplant unit.

“The amount of patient and family interaction nurses have on those units puts us in the position to make a difference every day in someone’s life,” said Lindsey. “You get very close and you get to know your patients well. It reminded me of my family members who had cancer and the nurses that were there for us. Nurses are the people on the forefront with the patient and the family.”