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Graduation will take nursing student back to where she first loved the profession

By J. Michael Moore | Emory Report | May 4, 2020

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After graduating with a nursing degree, Alexis Perkins will work at the place where she volunteered during high school and first developed a love for the profession: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

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Alexis Perkins makes it a personal mission to help as many people as possible. That mindset inspired her to be active on numerous boards and student organizations. It also guided her to choose nursing as a profession.

On May 11, Perkins graduates with a bachelor’s of science in nursing from Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. But that won’t be the end of her humble drive to aid anyone who needs her.

“I used to think I wanted to be a teacher and I took an early education class in high school,” Perkins says. “I realized that wasn’t my niche. Then I wanted to be a social worker but I thought the impact wouldn’t be big enough.

“I wanted to make an impact with as many people as I could.”

A native of Loganville, Georgia, Perkins leaves the university with a number of accolades and experiences. She served as class president, aided in recruiting initiatives and sat on the School of Nursing alumni board. She also is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. 

But perhaps her biggest — and most important — role was that of class president in the midst of COVID-19 and the university’s transition to remote learning. She has been described as a needed advocate, always representing the desire of the student body and ensuring their voice is heard by administrators. 

Perkins said social distancing and remote learning couldn’t stop the bond of her classmates. And, though they all grieve the loss of a traditional Commencement ceremony, they have found ways to stay involved and communicate. 

“I think overall everyone has coped with it well,” Perkins says. “We have a GroupMe for our cohort to stay in touch. We send pictures and memes, stuff like that. I’m proud of everyone for keeping up that sense of community. Helping each other. People reaching out to people. We got here together.” 

Personally, Perkins credits assistant clinical professor and BSN Program Director Melissa Owen for supporting the entire cohort and working with her as class president. Owen also serves as adviser for the student government.

“I had countless interactions with [Owen] and she is always very open and helpful,” Perkins says. “She has been one of the most genuine and caring people I came into contact with at Emory and has been such a good advocate for our cohort. She goes out of her way to make sure we are successful and have everything we need.” 

Perkins will be working for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta after graduation, returning to a spot where she volunteered in high school and developed a love of nursing. 

“I’m so excited to finally be working in the field that has been a dream of mine for a long time,” she said. “I get to help people and make a difference.”