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August 17, 2020

Thrust into the fire: Fresh from graduation, SVSU alumna felt prepared for nursing career that began in pandemic ‘hot zone’

Ludviksen, HaleyHaley Ludviksen was unsure about her professional aspirations after high school, but she was certain that continuing her education without pause was necessary to discover her calling and achieve her goals. She found her passion at Saginaw Valley State University, which led her to saving lives on the frontline of a global pandemic immediately after graduation.

“It was important for me to go to college because I knew getting a higher education would allow me to reach the professional goals I’d like to,” said the Cadillac native. “When I first started, I didn’t know what I wanted to go into and spent a lot of time developing my interests and myself as a whole through extracurricular involvements SVSU had to offer.”

Ludviksen recognized that SVSU was the university where opportunity met affordability. She joined the ranks of the 90% of students at SVSU who receive a scholarship or financial assistance other than loans.

Her drive earned her SVSU’s most prestigious scholarship. She quickly learned that her education was a worthwhile investment in her overall growth.

“I chose SVSU initially because I got the President’s Scholarship,” Ludviksen said. “However, the small class sizes and feeling like a name – not a number – made me fall in love with the place that helped me become the person I am today.”

Ludviksen immersed herself in all the opportunities that college had to offer, engaging in many registered student organizations. Her involvement in these programs unleashed her potential both professionally and personally, as well as helped her discover her passion for nursing.

“Once I joined more clubs and groups and started working on campus, I was able to start figuring out what I really wanted, which led me to nursing,” the 2019 SVSU alumna said.

“I will always credit the ability for me to get involved with special interest recreational and academic groups at SVSU— because of campus recreation and student life— as the biggest impact on me developing into the person I am today. It took me awhile to find my passion, but being able to become a leader and critical thinker outside of the classroom made it so much easier to do so in my profession.”

Ludviksen graduated from SVSU in December 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and shortly after, began her career as a registered nurse on a medical progressive care unit at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak in southeast Michigan. Some of her first experiences there came when that region was considered a “hot zone” during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan. 

She was immediately faced with the immense challenge of combating a worldwide health crisis, but Ludviksen felt prepared to overcome obstacles because of the skills she learned both in and out of the classroom.

“I started my career in April, right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, so I was truly just thrust into the fire of frontline healthcare work,” she said. “However, I have learned so very much and have been very grateful for the experiences and patients I have had so far.” 

Ludviksen’s college journey was not always easy, but it placed her on the path to success and empowered her to continue her education even further. She is dedicated to helping and inspiring others, and she plans to one day become either a holistic nurse practitioner or a professor.

The support she received at SVSU pushed her to pursue her goals and overcome obstacles, as well as advance to the next level of her life and career.

“If something is standing in the way of you attending college, my advice is to talk to someone who went. See what their struggles and obstacles were, because we all had them in our own shape or form,” she said.

“There are so many people I know who paid for college on their own with grants and scholarships, had children in college and still finished, worked full-time in college and still finished. The support you get at the university level is truly unmatched, and everyone — professors, faculty, and even fellow students — do whatever it takes to help you succeed. It’s such a community.”

As Ludviksen looks forward to her future, she also takes a moment to reflect on the experiences that brought her to where she is today and the university opportunities that made her success possible.

“College was the most impactful and life-changing experience of my life, and I think most of that is attributed to SVSU,” she said.

“It’s a special place, and a sacred place in my heart; a place I want everyone to be able to experience.