“During my time at CBU, I learned how important it is to choose what makes you happy and brings you joy. You may set yourself down a certain path, but life has a way of changing directions.”

Dana Zimmerman entered CBU with great aspirations to go to medical school. She was an active student during her CBU career, serving as a peer counselor and SGA senator, and was also a member of Alpha Xi Delta Sorority, Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society, and Up Til Dawn (a former student support group for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital).

“By my senior year, I realized that my goals were shifting, and I desired to pursue nursing as a career,” she recalls. “After some quick course changes and discussions with my advisor, I was able to complete all the prerequisites needed to get into a nursing program.” When she graduated in 2012 with a BS in Biology, she immediately enrolled at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in pursuit of her Master of Science in Nursing. She graduated with her master’s degree in 2014 — magna cum laude and a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society of nursing — and began her career as a registered nurse at St. Jude. Besides being employed at the hospital, Dana is also a proud St. Jude Hero, participating annually as a fundraising participant of the St. Jude Marathon.

Dana has since been certified as a Clinical Nurse Leader and as a Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse and will be graduating with her Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) in May 2022, when she will become a pediatric acute care nurse practitioner.

She credits the CBU School of Sciences for providing her with a strong foundation that helped her succeed in both of her graduate degree programs. But her fondest memory of CBU is making so many lifelong friends and meeting her husband, Jacob Zimmerman (Mechanical Engineering ’11).

I am grateful for being able to make the choice to switch career paths, and I am passionate about what I am able to do now.