Commencement spotlight: Long journey makes nursing degree all the sweeter for JoAnn Brink

December 5, 2018 | By Doug Erickson | UW News

JoAnn Brink
JoAnn Brink, pictured in front of the fireplace at the School of Nursing lounge, will be earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing Dec. 16. The effort took 20 years and many night and weekend classes while working full time and raising a daughter. Photo by Doug Erickson

On Dec. 16, JoAnn Brink will earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing from UW–Madison, an effort that took 20 years.

“If you know me at all, I fight, I claw,” says Brink, 55, who grew up in Columbus, Wisconsin. “There was no way I was not going to finish that degree.”

Brink had earned a two-year associate degree in nursing from Madison Area Technical College in 1997. Yet she was determined to continue her education.

“The two-year degree at MATC is outstanding — I can’t say enough good things about it,” she says. “But I’ve always wanted a bachelor’s degree. I love to learn, and I felt the four-year degree would make me a more well-rounded person.”

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