Mother and daughter alumnae began nursing careers at PNW
Widowed with three young children, Marlyn Martz knew she had to do something to change her life.
The Michigan City resident turned to Purdue University Northwest. She had always wanted to be a nurse. She chose PNW because of its reputation.
That was 1984, and the decision would launch not just one, but two generations of nursing careers.
When Marlyn started attending classes, her daughters Sharri and Mary were in their teens, and David, her son, was 10. Three years later she earned her associate’s degree – the highest degree offered by the university at the time – in nursing. By then, Marlyn had remarried, and Jennifer, her soon-to-be fourth, and youngest, attended her graduation in utero.
“I graduated in May, took the boards in July and Jennifer was born in November,” says Marlyn. She later went on to earn her bachelor’s degree and attained certification as a Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN).
Fast forward more than two decades. A gifted artist, Jennifer lived in Chicago where she attended Columbia College for nearly five years, majoring in fashion design and illustration.
Yet her mother insisted, “Nursing is in your blood.” And Jennifer, working as a rehabilitation technician, discovered her love for healthcare.
Jennifer, 30, earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing in December 2016. She is a staff nurse in the Oncology department at Community Hospital in Munster, Ind.
“Jennifer was a standout student who really embodies everything that we are about in the College of Nursing,” says Nursing Dean Lisa Hopp. “She was drawn to nursing because of her interest in science and she pursued research that underpins making decisions with patients.”
Inspired by her father’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease, Jennifer began research on Parkinson’s during her senior year at PNW. She plans to further pursue research that helps nurses help their patients, and work toward a doctoral degree.
She credits professors Beth Vottero and Taryn Eastland with mentoring her through her research. Jennifer presented her research at a consortium in fall 2016 while still a student.
“At PNW I learned how important it is to devote your life to something that you want,” Jennifer says. “I felt this aura of knowledge. (The faculty) really have a high regard for making the best nurses they can make.”
As Jennifer’s career is taking off, her mother’s is winding down. Marlyn, 72, retired in 2015, culminating 33 years in nursing. She is proud of her two stints totaling 20 years at Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Michigan City, and 13 years at St. Catherine’s Hospital in East Chicago, where she was asked to open the hospital’s rehab unit.
“Nursing is tough,” she says. “I loved my career. Going to PNW was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. Was it life-changing? Definitely. There’s no question about that.”
Looking to our Future: Purdue Northwest is proudly launching the PNW Legacy Scholarship. This endowed scholarship fund will recognize academic achievements and leadership potential in Indiana students whose parent, sibling or grandparent is a Purdue Northwest graduate. The scholarship will be funded by proceeds from the PNW license plate. For more information, the PNW licence plate web page or call (219) 989-2308.