WCU Alumni Spotlight: Maria Castillo, RN, BSN ’18

What sets West Coast University apart from other schools?

For me what sets apart WCU from any other school is how personal it feels. All the staff, from the administration to faculty to career advisors and Alumni network genuinely care for each and every student and go above and beyond to make sure everyone succeeds. Also, the small class to faculty ratio makes it easier for the student to connect and build a bond with your professors.

Can you describe the Miami campus culture? Who was your favorite professor?

Miami is a melting pot and that is definitely represented in our student body and faculty. I feel like I connected with each of my professors and it would be hard to choose a favorite one. I would choose one that I connect with the most and one whose teachings resonate in my mind; and that would be Kat Lino. She made her class interactive and fun, took the scare out of nursing school, and made herself available all the time for whenever we needed a helping hand. I still keep her notes for reference. She is the teacher I inspire to be one day.

How did you manage your time with being a tutor, involvements with Sigma Theta Thau, having a work-study position, and taking care of your family?

I am very organized and task-oriented. A daily planner and calendar were my best friends. Also, I made priorities where it needed to be had made and I also had the support of my family to make it happen. But most importantly, I believe if you want to do something you will find time to do it. It really brought joy to help others out and it helps solidify my learning by teaching others.

How did you utilize the Student Services during your time at WCU, and what advice would you give to our WCU students about taking advantage of the resources on campus?

I utilized student services to look for volunteer opportunities, to network and connect with future nurses and also gain new skills that would help me succeed later. WCU-Miami has amazing career advisors (Georgeta Railic and Farrah Jerome) that help you with resume building, network opportunities, mock interviews and even helps you build your LinkedIn account. Equally important, Adiela Naranjo and her team of student services advisors always had activities plan throughout the week to help students unwind and take a little break from the strenuous program.

What was your most memorable experience at WCU and what did you take away from your time at WCU?

One of the most memorable experiences from WCU program was volunteering at Doral Pro Health Fair. This was an annual health fair carried out at WCU-Miami campus with the association of the city of Doral and other major organizations. It was amazing to see how many people did not have access to primary healthcare and were in search of preventive health programs. Most importantly, it made me realize how important it is to educate our patients and how public health is really the backbone of our communities. I am a firm believer that we need to shift from reactive to proactive health and start focusing on prevention than treatment.

How has staying involved with WCU helped you as an alumna?

Staying involved with WCU means giving back. I loved my time during nursing school and everything I learned there made me the nurse I am today.

What does #WCUProud mean to you?

WCUProud means doing what’s right when no one is watching. Always putting your patient first and advocating for their rights as if it were your own. And always representing WCU with integrity and honor, for we are the future of the nursing profession.

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.