By: Erik Pedersen, Senior Communications Manager
Class of 2023 Spotlights
BALTIMORE – Ashley Engles’ goal in life is simple: to be there for people who need help. She will soon have an opportunity to do that on a daily basis after graduating from Notre Dame of Maryland University’s School of Nursing later this month.
Engles enrolled in the Entry-Level Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program after transferring from Carroll Community College in 2021, and she spent the 2022-23 academic year serving as president for NDMU’s Student Association of Nurses at Notre Dame (SANND).
Her role with SANND is one of several initiatives that Engles has been a part of during her time as a student to support her fellow future nurses. She is also a tutor for NDMU’s Cultivating Academic Success, Responsibility, and Excellence (CARE) program, and she serves as vice president for the Maryland Association of Nursing Students.
Learn more about Engles’ NDMU experience and her future career plans:
How did you first hear about Notre Dame, and what led you to apply here?
When I first started looking into nursing programs, Notre Dame popped up as having a bachelor’s program, which a lot of schools don’t have in Maryland. The smaller classroom setting also really helped put Notre Dame at the top of my list. I really enjoy the opportunity for 1-on-1 interactions with teachers, I’ve always found that I prosper better with that.
What made you want to become a nurse? What was it that drew you to that field?
Growing up, a bunch of my family members had autoimmune disorders, and I spent a lot time in the hospital with them. While I was there, I really saw the impact that nurses can make on people’s lives, even more so than doctors. My goal in life is just to be there for people, and nursing will allow me to support those in need to the best of my ability. In the future, I hope to become a provider so I could be able to provide more preventative medicines for patients.
What has your NDMU experience been like?
I absolutely love NDMU. The CCT (Center for Caring with Technology) has been an amazing resource to help me learn, and all of the teachers have been incredible. They’ve assisted me whenever I needed them, and their office hours are flexible. As I was transitioning in as a transfer student, they helped me with all of the prerequisites that I needed. I’ve had a great experience here at Notre Dame.
What inspired you to get involved with the Student Association of Nurses at Notre Dame?
I decided to join SANND and take on a leadership position because, when you hear about nursing school, you hear how it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do in your life. SANND was an opportunity for me to give back to the students, and to do what I could to help them get through school. I talk to a lot of schools, and they all seem to have high dropout rates. I feel like we need more opportunities to support students with scholarships, mentorship programs and other initiatives.
Is there a certain area of nursing that you want to specialize in, and what helped lead you in that direction?
At first, I wanted to work in the ICU, but I’m actually going to work in the oncology unit at Mercy Medical Center after completing my practicum there this semester. The staff at Mercy was great, they helped me learn a lot about the area. There are a lot of people who need support in that unit, and I really enjoyed getting to know the patients and their families throughout their time there.
What is a top memory you have from your time at Notre Dame?
My favorite thing about Notre Dame was the time I spent in the CCT. Going through the simulations, and having the nursing faculty there to help along the way. They guide you through it, and they reassure you if you make mistakes. They just did a great job teaching and helping us to the best of their abilities.
What are your long-term career goals?
I eventually want to go back to school to become a family nurse practitioner. Perhaps back at Notre Dame since there is an FNP program here now.
Is there any message that you’d like to give to NDMU students who are still working their way through nursing school?
Don’t give up! You’re probably going to get a bad grade at some point, but as long as you push yourself and communicate with the teachers, they are there for you, and they will help you through it.
Established in 1895, Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) is a private, Catholic institution in Baltimore, Maryland, with the mission to educate leaders to transform the world. Notre Dame has been named one of the best "Regional Universities North" by U.S. News & World Report.