WCU Alumni Spotlight: Marie Manio, BSN ’14

What brought you to WCU as a student?

One thing I find remarkably special about WCU is that everyone is granted the opportunity to pursue his or her dream of becoming a nurse. Admittance to a nursing program is highly competitive. I came to WCU as my last-ditch effort after multiple applications and rejections from other programs in the metroplex. My GPA was always just one-hundredth of a point off or I was missing some arbitrary elective. WCU revived my hope and gave me a chance. I love that about this organization; it renews and restores the ambition that exists in every student.

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

I remember feeling terrified on my first day in Fundamentals of Nursing. My professor, Dr. Sherri Smith-Keys transformed my experience from one of sheer terror to absolute awe. Her presence reaffirmed my desire to become a nurse. Sometimes, all it takes is one person to inspire you and encourage you to keep moving forward. I only hope to inspire others around me during my career as a nurse educator.

How do you think coming back to teach at your alma mater helps the university and impacts the students?

Coming back to teach at WCU has been a humbling and rewarding experience. As a former student, I remember the challenges and successes I experienced, and I find that I can empathize with the students at a very genuine, transparent level. I would like to think that the students view me as a confidant, role model, and inspirer.

How are you involved with WCU currently?

I work full-time as a nurse educator. I teach Fundamentals, Pharmacology, and Med-Surg II. I also serve as the alumni liaison for the campus. 

If you could give one word of advice to our WCU students, what would it be?

Work hard, play hard. When enrolled in an accelerated program, it is easy to overlook your own needs. I am a firm believer in achieving balance in all aspects of life. School is hard, but life is harder. Find time for yourself, whether it is seeing a movie, having a glass or wine, working out. Everyone needs a release of some sort. Give yourself a break from time to time, and know that all your hard work and diligence will pay off. Just be sure to enjoy the journey.

Why do you think it’s important for our alumni to stay involved with their alma mater — whether by attending an alumni event, volunteering their time or giving to the alumni scholarship fund?

Nursing is a collaborative profession. I truly believe “you get by with a little help from your friends.” It is important for alumni to remain involved with the organization to serve as role models and inspirers for future alumni. Alumni can open up networking opportunities or provide guidance to those who need advice. Either way, alumni connections are a powerful tool.

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.