Rachel Smith, '24

April 1, 2024

A strong drive to care for others influenced Rachel Smith to start her future at The University of Texas at Tyler.

Rachel SmithInfluenced by the sudden changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith sought a career in healthcare where she could serve members of her community. UT Tyler’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program aligned with her goals.

While pursuing her degree, she received the support she needed to thrive both in school and in her future nursing career. She was able to build lasting connections and remain engaged on campus through invested faculty and professional student organizations. UT Tyler’s Honors College further complements her studies through rigorous research and opportunities to present at conferences.

What has been your favorite memory on campus so far?

My first Midnight Breakfast has to be my favorite on-campus memory. As someone with a lot of friends who turn in early, to get them out late was so much fun. When the delirium kicks in, and there are countless activities to do and foods to eat, it’s a great time. Cake walks, spinning cameras, cornhole — you name it, it was there. It’s a memory I’ll always love.

What drew you to UT Tyler?

The good-natured people and close-knit campus are primarily what led me to UT Tyler. I was greeted with smiles on campus and wonderfully compassionate staff. That feeling, coupled with the noteworthy nursing program and my admission to Honors, is what compelled me to choose UT Tyler.

What is your major, and what interested you about your major?

I am a nursing major. I have always felt drawn to the medical field, as I’d love to offer my compassion and care to people in need. Nursing, specifically, is a field full of versatility that most other majors do not possess. The opportunity for travel, highlighted especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is what sealed my fate.

What has been unique about your experience so far, including inside and outside of the classroom?

Inside the classroom, UT Tyler feels like a small school in that almost every professor I’ve had has been genuinely interested in helping me to succeed not only in their classroom but in my career as well. Their advice and willingness to help you find the resources you need are invaluable.

Outside of the classroom, the students that go here are so accepting. There’s a community for everyone. My community was found within Honors specifically, but there are religion-, cultural- and workplace-related clubs that allow for someone of any background to find their place. There’s a feeling of closeness and community here that is unparalleled in my mind.

UT Tyler emphasizes career preparation and hands-on learning. What types of opportunities have you participated in (internships, research or travel study, for example), and what have you learned?

Last year, I attended the Great Plains Honors Conference through the Honors College. This event showcases hundreds of research projects through posters and oral presentations. This conference opened my eyes to the unlimited bounds of research and will serve to help me as I start my own research with the Honors College.

Have you been involved in any campus organizations or activities?

The main campus organization I work with is LOGOS, the student government of the Honors College. As the Vice President of Service, I help plan our semesterly trash pickups, as well as try and find new events to help our community.

Currently, I’m working in cooperation with Tallon Clemmer, Vice President of Traditions, to start a new service project involving the University Academy. This event will involve us reading stories to kids at the academy in Halloween costumes. Not only is it outreach for the university and the Honors College, but it’s fun for us and aims to provide benefits to the kids.

What are your goals or aspirations following graduation?

Following graduation and after gaining two years of experience in nursing, I plan to travel around the U.S. as a travel nurse. I have always wanted to explore the U.S. and find where I fit best. Additionally, I’m leaving my options open to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner.

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