Getting a degree turned into a celebration of achievement for two generations of Newman transfer student Annette Castillo-Lopez’s family. Her aunt Alondra Lopez-Gomez (who’s the same age as her) and her mom, Edith Castillo, and Castillo-Lopez all graduated from Butler Community College at the same time earlier this year.
“Entering the program, we had no idea how much dedication we needed to put in our studies, so we made a lot of sacrifices that allowed us to complete the program,” Castillo-Lopez explained.
Since she was a dual high school/college student, she had to make extra sacrifices to get her coursework done, including staying up late to study after she’d gotten home from a high school soccer game.
“I knew coming into the program it would be hard to balance all of these activities and classes,” she said. “My mom chose to study at Butler because she knew she wanted to become a teacher as her youngest child grew older. Plus, my mom knew TOP Learning Centers (a preschool we all attended) was offering a scholarship opportunity at Butler for parents whose kids attended TOP. My aunt attended Butler because she knew she wanted to become a teacher and also received a new scholarship opportunity at Butler for past students that attended TOP.”
Castillo-Lopez shared that she and her aunt chose to attend Butler while in high school because their education would be more cost-effective in the long run.
“I feel like attending Butler and Derby High School also better prepared us for college today,” she said. “There were some nights where we were helping each other with homework because one person understood it better than the other.”
The three are the first in their family to graduate from college, and they hope to inspire others to consider higher education as well, including Castillo-Lopez’s four younger sisters.
Castillo-Lopez pursued a health science degree from Butler in order to earn her prerequisites and get into nursing school early. Now, she’s a nursing student at Newman University, where she also plays on the women’s soccer team, and intends to graduate in two years.
She was inspired to pursue a nursing career, specifically as a labor and delivery nurse, after seeing the delivery of her younger sister, who was born nine weeks premature.
“Not only was I exposed to the medical field, but I was exposed to the health care workers,” Castillo-Lopez said. “They showed me how much they help out in the field, that they are the backbone of health care, and they are the people you can trust the most when in need of care.”
She added, “While at Newman, I have learned that there are different specialties in the nursing field, so now I want to explore what a certified registered nurse anesthesiologist (CRNA) is.”
So far, Castillo-Lopez has enjoyed meeting new people from across the globe at Newman, as well as attending events like Jet Friday.
Throughout her journey thus far, Castillo-Lopez has felt the impact of many people, and she knows that will only continue to happen.
“The people who have impacted my journey so far are my mom, my sisters, my counselors at Derby High School, my past teachers and my coaches. Every single one of these people helped shape who I am today.”
Earn a nursing degree at Newman University
The Newman University nursing program educates students to be a generalist and lays the foundation for graduate school.