Congratulations to Our Graduating Seniors!

This semester, we have three seniors who will be earning their bachelor’s degrees! Emily, Laura, and Brady will all be pursuing careers in nursing, and we can’t wait to see what they all accomplish. Read their interviews below to learn more about their time in our lab and their plans for the future. 

Emily Ploch

Photo of Emily Ploch in a lab coat 

What are your plans after graduation? 

I’m currently applying for nurse residency positions in Fort Collins, Colorado where I’ll be moving to in July with my partner. Hopefully, I get a position on a medical-surgical floor at a hospital.  

What is one thing you learned while working in the lab that you’ll take with you into your future career? 

I learned so much from the lab about dementia and the qualitative research process. However, I feel like the most impactful thing I’ll take with me to my new nursing job is how to work cohesively as a team and how to make an efficient and comfortable work environment.  

Can you share one highlight from your time in undergraduate and one highlight specific to your work in the lab? 

A highlight from my undergraduate was going to the Badger football games. It made me so excited to be a part of a university that has such pride for their school.  

A highlight specific to my lab work would be taking part in the planning and conduction of the caregiver meta-synthesis project and seeing the project progress over the past year. I was there to participate in the whole research process of this project which has been really interesting and motivating.  

Laura Vergenz 

Black and white photo of Laura Vergenz where a mask and nusing scrubs

What are your plans for after graduation? 

As far post-grad life goes, I have taken a nurse residency position in UW Health’s neuro ICU. It will be a challenging environment with so many opportunities for growth as both a human and healthcare provider. Here, I hope to dive deeper into my love for palliative care, end-of-life care, and patient advocacy. I have learned to not plan out my life too much (because there’s so many twists and turns along the way!), but down the road, I may explore a nurse practitioner degree, a part-time position in hospice, a role as a nursing educator, or even focus on the care of patients with GI conditions. The possibilities are endless! 

What is one thing you learned while working in the lab that you’ll take with you into your future career? 

Working in the lab, I soon learned the beauty and strength in having a team rich in diversity. These differences in personal experiences, schools of thought, and skillsets are foundational in effecting change as dreamers, researchers, and members in the field of healthcare. I have been constantly amazed at the talent and passion I have seen in all my team members — it gives me hope for my future patients and for myself. You are unique changemakers, and my time in the lab has made me one as well. I will carry my passions, perspective, and openness to diversity as I move onto the next stage in my professional life.  

Can you share one highlight from your time in undergraduate and one highlight specific to your work in the lab? 

As creativity has always been such an important part of me, I cherished my time working on the brainstorming and proposal phase of the Longitudinal Care Plan. Although COVID-19 halted project progression, I learned so much during that time — from initiatives that personalize medical care to the importance of seeing patients as humans. Both in clinical work and in school, I have directly seen how these lessons influence my own personal nursing practice. 

Looking back on my undergraduate years, I will always vividly remember what an honor it was to care for COVID positive ICU patients as a nursing assistant. In the last year, I have seen a lot of death and suffering. But I have also seen such resiliency, beauty, and teamwork. As a high-risk individual, it was scary at the beginning (not going to lie), but it has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life thus far. It made me fall in love with critical care and end-of-life care, and I am so grateful for that. 

Brady Stroik 

What are your plans after graduation? 

My Plans after graduation are to get a nursing job in an ICU, NICU, or ER! I am applying to jobs in Madison, Chicago, and Columbus, Ohio! 

What is one thing you learned while working in the lab that you’ll take with you into your future career? 

Something I learned in working in the lab that I will take with me in my career is to ask questions. People would much rather have you ask questions when you are unsure of something than you try to do something you are unsure of on your own. I see this being of huge benefit to my patients in the future. 

Can you share one highlight from your time in undergraduate and one highlight specific to your work in the lab?  

One of my favorite memories from undergraduate was getting to experience clinicals with UW Med Flight this spring! I was the first student in the nursing schools’ program to ever be asked to do this!  

A highlight from my time in the lab was how I was able to gain experience with such a different area of nursing than I was used to. Research brought such a different and unique perspective to nursing that I would not have experienced without working in the lab.