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Sonja Newhouse Spadaccino Semidei, RN, BSN '16

Sunny NewhouseAs the recipient of the Julia Cadiz Negron Scholarship, Sonja ‘Sunny’ Newhouse Spadaccino Semidei, RN, BSN ’16 received not just the financial support she needed to complete her degree but also a boost of confidence that helped her cross the finish line.

More than 30 years ago, Sunny completed her RN program with the Mercer Medical Center School of Nursing, in Trenton, N.J. Upon completion, she worked as a full time nurse for many years in the same area. Years later, she resolved to put her nursing career on hold and follow her husband to Puerto Rico. Although nursing remained her passion, she worked as a manager for a construction company until its closing in 2013.

Recalling her passion for nursing, Sunny elected to return to school to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN), hoping to once again reenter the nursing field. Unsure of where to turn, she reached out to Capital Health Medical Center for her RN transcripts and was fortunate enough to learn about the flexible course options provided at Thomas Edison State University.

As a full time caregiver for her grandson, Sunny found time late at night and on the weekends to complete her coursework.

“Returning to school so late in my career was overwhelming, but I felt encouraged to continue my studies when I found out I was awarded the Julia Cadiz Negron Scholarship,” she said. “The scholarship was not just financial support – it was proof that others believed that I could complete my degree.”

With her newly earned BSN and a newfound sense of purpose, Sunny plans to apply her knowledge gained as part of a two-week long medical mission to Zambia where she will be providing medical care, vaccinations and education to approximately 4,000 people in the surrounding community. She plans to work full time as a nurse upon her return to Puerto Rico and eventually pursue her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.