Heather Novis knew she wanted to become a nurse when she watched her aunt help her brother through treatment for Burkitt’s lymphoma, an uncommon but aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that affects children.

“Seeing her help him made me want to help others,” said Novis, 22, who spent her middle and high school years at McKeel Academy of Technology, graduating in 2015. She attended the McKeel Medical Academy and attained her Certified Medical Administrative Assistant and EKG licenses, an education she says was “substantial” and challenging.

Novis is being profiled as part of a series on students who attended schools in Polk County and are now pursuing STEM-related degrees in colleges here and across the country. She attends Keiser University in Lakeland, where classes are small and student-centered, she said.

Why Keiser University – Lakeland

“Keiser has a strong reputation for producing knowledgeable and well-trained nurses at the hospital where I work. The accelerated courses give amazing opportunities to learn, and they truly put students first,” she said. “As a student, I feel that the facility and staff are invested in my education.”

As she nears completion of her associate’s degree in nursing, she will spend this summer as an intern at Lakeland Regional Health, where she will put her studies into “real world perspective,” she said. “Reading and doing a task are two different things, and every student needs to know how to work hands on.” She said the internship will “add value to my employer while providing quality care for patients.”

What’s Next?

Novis said she plans to continue her education at Keiser to earn a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing. She plans to stay in Polk County, working at Lakeland Regional Health, where she would like to specialize in Trauma nursing. Lakeland Regional Health is a Level 2 Trauma Center that treats some of the worst injuries. In additional, LRH operates the busiest Emergency Department in the state.

The daughter of George and Michele Novis, Heather Novis she describes being close to getting her degree as the most exciting and scariest thing in her life right now. But with the STEM education she’s received, and the motivation she has to help others, it’s clear she will excel.