Moving to Manteo, NC in 1993 after graduating from Walterboro High School in South Carolina, Michelle M. Fennessy always wanted to be a nurse, but struggled with finding a way to pay tuition and manage the course work. Finally in 1994, she began taking classes at the COA Dare County Campus. She was accepted to the associate degree nursing program soon afterwards and began taking her nursing course work at the Elizabeth City Campus. Her rotations were completed at several hospitals in the Elizabeth City, Chesapeake, and Edenton areas. Michelle graduated in 1997 with honors and received the Dr. L. Everett Sawyer Award for Excellence. Immediately after graduation, she worked as a staff nurse at Chowan Hospital in Edenton.
In 1999, she entered the RN-MSN program at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and graduated in 2002. Finishing as an Advanced Practice Nurse and working as a clinical specialist at a hospital in downtown Charleston, she was subsequently promoted and took on other administrative positions including clinical directorships and program development roles.
In 2005, Michelle decided to take the next step in her career towards a PhD in Nursing. Enrolling at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she began taking PhD classes and working at the University of Chicago Medical Center in the Cardiac Cath Lab as an Advanced Practice Role. In 2009, she transferred to Loyola University Medical Center at the request of Dr. John Lopez, an Interventional Cardiologist and Michelle's mentor, while working towards her PhD. In 2011, Michelle completed data collection and defended her Doctoral dissertation. Soon after completing her PhD, she was accepted for a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California-Davis. Currently, she is in the process of moving to Sacramento for this incredible fellowship opportunity.
When asked about her time at College of The Albemarle, Michelle stated, "I learned how to be a nurse at COA and received a top notch nursing education from excellent instructors - I owe so much to the college for this. Without the broad clinical experiences, nursing skills and tools that l gained through my first nursing degree at College of The Albemarle, I would not have been able work my way through my career."
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