On July 11, Excelsior College will host its annual Commencement ceremony at the Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany, New York. With ‘Commencement Stories’, Excelsior Life explores the personal and educational journeys of a few of this year’s outstanding graduates. Follow #ExcelsiorGrad2014 for all Commencement-related updates and activities.
Laurie Herrera grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts. She has been an LPN for 27 years, working in geriatrics almost the entire time. She also worked in nursing homes, home care, and for twelve years in a dementia unit.
Herrera knew she loved working with the aging population and felt that Excelsior’s program was a perfect fit. Herrera started with Excelsior many years ago (19 to be exact), enrolling in the Associate in Science in Nursing program, but she never finished her degree.
However, things changed. This month, she will be graduating from Excelsior College with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with Gerontology Focus. “After all these years, I wanted to finally do something for myself.” Herrera explains, “I wanted to feel the pride and satisfaction of obtaining my bachelor’s degree. So at the age of 59, I did it.” Herrera is now working on her MS in Management of Aging Services at UMass Boston.
“Excelsior College has already helped me immensely with my career path. After I received my degree conferral, I was hired for a position that called for a BS in social work, nursing or gerontology. Herrera enthusiastically shares, “I got the job because of my degree!”
Herrara is now employed as a geriatric transitional coach for an agency that manages a Medicare program. In her role, she screens and enrolls patients for the program. She often visits them in their hospital room and explains the programs available to them. The goal of the Medicare program is to empower individuals as they transition from the hospital back to their homes and remain as independent as possible.
Herrera says, “The education that I received from Excelsior gave me solid a background for my future. On a daily basis, I see how much my learning experience has helped me. It really prepared me for my new job, and I am very pleased.”
Herrera lives in New Britain, Connecticut, has been married for several years with one son and two step-daughters. Herrera’s husband was an inspiration to her. He received his BS at 56 and his MS at 64. She loves to spend time with three grandchildren and traveling in her spare time.
Herrera will be attending Excelsior College’s graduation in Albany, NY with her husband, son, daughter-in-law, and grandson.