From firefighter to nurse, this Marinette Campus student aims to serve

World, meet Riley Autore, a sophomore at UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus. Challenges and obstacles are no match for this adventurer who is working to become a nurse. She’s had to work harder than many, just to get through high school. A resident of Drummond Island, Michigan, ferry rides to Detour High School, and later Sault Area Career Center, were part of her daily routine, and along with it, a youthful lesson in perseverance.

Autore is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in nursing—a degree she can begin at the Marinette Campus, which she says she chose for the “tight bonds with professors and classmates.” A master’s degree and a career as a registered nurse are her dreams of tomorrow.

UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus, Riley Autore

Like her peers, COVID has been a cause for concern. Not only as she navigates college during a pandemic, but what it could mean to her career plans.

“COVID has been a huge obstacle in my degree,” Autore says. “There’s a huge unknown about the future in health care and it’s scary seeing the weight that healthcare professionals have on their shoulders during the pandemic. There’s so much stress on them right now I could see how it would be easy to not want to go into the profession.”

But what keeps her drive alive is support from her Marinette peers, a personal maturity to look beyond her current circumstance, and an ambition to do more.

“I have the power to make a lot of change in someone’s life,” she says. “I can either lay in bed and think about how I could do that, or I can get out of bed and start doing that. The more work I put in, the better I can be, and the better I can be, the more I can help influence someone else’s life.”

She has a knack for serving others, already a volunteer for the Drummond Island Fire Department. She uses that experience to fuel her desire for what’s next.

“The opportunity for education has made me a much better person. Without the opportunity for even a college education, it would be very hard for me to get anywhere in life. Education has made it possible for me to become anyone I want to be. I said, ‘I want to be a firefighter’ and with some education, that is what I am. I said, ‘I want to be a nurse’ and education is what is making it possible for me be one.”

Still, the road is long and can be challenging for her and her peers, she says. But in the end worth it.

“I think that education is a scary thing. Student loans are a huge intimidator for people seeking a college education. Age can also be a huge factor in peoples’ decision to continue their education, but I think that it’s really important for everyone to become the best version of themselves that they can, and education plays a huge role in that. A lot of people complain that they can’t make a living wage at a job that requires no education, so that makes me believe everyone should take the opportunity to get some kind of education to get better jobs.”

Learn more about the opportunities at UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus.

Photos submitted

Story by Sue Bodilly, Marketing and University Communication

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