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Student Success

The journey to her master’s in Nursing was a global one

Marina Mendes is one of the first to graduate from Miami University’s MSN program and is already looking ahead to her doctorate

Student Success

The journey to her master’s in Nursing was a global one

Marina Mendes

The journey for Marina Mendes, this year’s student speaker for the College of Liberal Arts and Applied Science recognition ceremony, has been a global one leading to two Miami Nursing degrees — and one more on the horizon.

Mendes is one of seven graduates who comprise the first graduating class from Miami’s Master of Science in Nursing program. And her Miami journey will continue this fall when she will be a member of the inaugural class of Miami’s Doctorate of Nursing Practice program.

A native of Brazil, her husband Arthur Carvalho’s graduate studies first took her to Waterloo, Ontario as he completed his Ph.D. and then to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where he became an assistant professor at Erasmus University. His acceptance of a position in the Farmer School of Business (where he is now the Dinesh & Ila Paliwal Innovation Chair and associate professor of Information Systems and Analytics) brought them to Oxford in 2016.

In her new home, she faced the challenges of not being able to communicate in English and credits Miami’s English Language Center (ELC) with helping her develop her listening, reading, and speaking abilities. Speaking of center director Jerry Martin and his team, Marina praised all they did "to open the doors of the university to me and a world of opportunities in this country."

As her language skills progressed, she continued with the ELC and began taking Miami courses with the goal of earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. It was while she was preparing to join the Nursing program in the fall of 2017 that she and her husband welcomed their daughter, Lily. 

"It was in the Nursing Department that I made my first and lifelong friends in America," she recalled. "We laughed together, cried together, and lifted each other up when the challenges seemed overwhelming. The connections I've made, both with faculty and friends, have enriched my life in ways I could never have imagined."

Graduating summa cum laude in 2022, she began her professional career in Kettering Health Hamilton’s intensive care unit. She now is part of the nursing staff at TriHealth McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital as part of the Inpatient Care Unit team.

Mendes believes her Miami MSN degree and nurse practitioner certification are the cornerstones of her professional qualifications. Her goal is a position in a primary care setting where she can apply her skills and knowledge to provide high-quality, compassionate care. 

"Marina represents the kind of nursing students we strive to produce," said Stephanie Nicely, chair of the Department of Nursing. "She is skilled, compassionate, and committed to improving patient outcomes."

Entering Miami’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program, her goal is to complete her studies by May 2026 and then transition from student to teacher. 

Ultimately her dream is to help prepare future nursing professionals. 

"In addition to teaching, I look forward to mentoring newcomers in the field," she said. "It will be my opportunity to give back to the educational community that supported me in achieving my goals."