Ja’Hana Gasque can’t wait to walk across that stage on May 4 – to receive her bachelor’s of science in nursing. A UNC Greensboro University Marshal and Spanish Club president, Gasque has already found her dream job as a critical care nurse for Cone Health. Read the interview and watch the video below to learn more about her academic path, her time in the School of Nursing and her experience at UNCG.

Why did you decide to study nursing?

I actually came to the university to study psychology, and during my sophomore year I decided to change my major to nursing. Once I started taking classes, I totally fell in love with it and decided that this was what I wanted to do as a career.

What do you love about nursing?

I love the patient interaction. You build connections, and you really get to be that person that people depend on and open up to. They say that nursing is one of the most trusted professions, and I value that. As a nurse you’re with the patients a good portion of the day – your whole shift. People come in during low points, and they get to a point of being totally well when they leave the hospital. It’s been so rewarding to help patients get from that weak state to a healthier state, to teach them how to be well and to connect them with the resources that they need to live healthy lives. Just to do that and to see the impact that has on people’s lives is amazing.

What has your experience at UNCG been like?

At UNCG I’ve never felt like I was left alone or without support. The tutoring program, the Speaking Center, the Writing Center – there are so many resources for you to succeed. I feel like because UNCG has provided those resources, I’ve been able to succeed as a student. I never imagined I’d be graduating with a 4.0, but part of the reason is that I’ve had the resources and the faith, and UNCG has been there to push me. And the connection with faculty – faculty have always been there for me. I know I can always go to the professor and ask for help, and if they can’t help me, they always have resources to help me.

Also, the students, the diversity – I love it because I’ve had the opportunity to learn from so many other students from different backgrounds. It’s just such a well-rounded university. I wouldn’t have traded it for any other university in North Carolina.

What was your most memorable experience outside of the classroom?

Spending a semester studying abroad in Montevideo, Uruguay. I was completely out of my comfort zone, in a place where I knew nothing, and all I could do was learn how to live their way.  One thing we did for fun was walk the “rambla,” which is like the boardwalk on the river, Rio de la Plata − we’d meet up there to have ice cream and watch the sunset. My favorite Uruguayan dish was the chivito, which is almost like a hamburger but a little different, and cumbia was my favorite style of music. What I enjoyed most was meeting new people, learning their customs and their culture and becoming a part of their community. I will never forget the relationships I built with the people there. I also completed a service project working with their homeless population to provide less fortunate families with clothes and food supplements.

What’s your favorite campus event?

I’m torn between two – it’s either the EUC Takeover or the Block Party. Because you get to see so many UNCG students just come out and have fun and experience everything there is to experience at UNCG. The different offices set up tables, and that’s how I learned a lot about what UNCG has to offer. There’s also games, music and food and everyone comes out to enjoy the atmosphere.

Interview by Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications
Photography and videography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications