Caitlin Smith of Bloomington has been selected a spring semester Outstanding Student at Metropolitan State University.
Smith is one of 10 Metropolitan State University students recognized at the President’s Outstanding Student Award Reception on May 1, 2021. President’s Outstanding Student Award recipients are nominated by their professors and advisers and selected based on their academic excellence, community service, academic innovation in the educational program and professional achievement.
Smith graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and is chosen Outstanding Student in the university’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She is one of 1,018 students receiving bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees at Metropolitan State’s 108th commencement exercises, which will be celebrated with an online ceremony on May 8, 2021.
Smith chose Metropolitan State for its specific MANE-BSN program. The dual-admission program allowed her to complete the associate of science in nursing degree at Normandale Community College, and then transfer seamlessly to the baccalaureate level nursing courses at Metropolitan State.
MANE—the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education—is an alliance of Minnesota nursing programs, at seven community colleges and Metropolitan State University using a common baccalaureate curriculum. The program is a four-year, eight semester plan that is dedicated to increasing the educational capacity for attainment of a baccalaureate degree in nursing.
Completing the MANE-BSN program is just part of Smith’s educational and career plan. “My goal is to achieve my BSN so that I can be a competitive candidate for a hospital [Registered Nurse] position, where I can get the experience I need to ready myself for the next step in my education—a doctorate in nurse anesthesia,” Smith says. She is a Registered Nurse and has just accepted a new position at Regions Hospital in Saint Paul. After gaining on-the job experience she plans to apply to Metropolitan State’s Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) program.
Like many non-traditional students at Metropolitan State, Smith balanced her academics with work and home life. “There have been times when I doubted whether I could complete a project on time or pass a class even before the pandemic, but then came the stress and unpredictability of COVID-19. My husband and my instructors have been so wonderful to help me when I need it,” Smith says.
At Metropolitan State, Smith was active in student life, participating as a student representative on the Undergrad Programs Committee for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. “It has been the most rewarding experience, getting to know faculty, and being involved with the inner workings of my own nursing program as well as others,” Smith says. “Through my involvement with this wonderful group of leaders, I have learned how change is planned, implemented, tracked and revised. I have learned how professional meetings should be conducted, and how to navigate difficult problems and discussions. Most of all, I have learned that academia may be a field I’d like to consider for my own career someday.”
Smith lives in Bloomington with her husband Dave; daughter Chaille, 14; son Callan, 7; and cat Bill, 15. She enjoys playing Ludovico Einaudi compositions on the piano, crocheting, reading, and listening to podcasts. She is a 2003 graduate of Anderson High School in Anderson, Ind. She attends Eagle Brook Church in Woodbury.