Leah-Rose ’22 found a place to belong and prosper 600 miles from home

Leah Reynolds in her student nurse uniform in the sim lab
Photos by Malik Withrow ’24

Leah-Rose ’22 has a passion for women’s health and patient care. Growing up in a large family in Tallahassee, Fla., helped her develop a love of working with children, and having several aunts who are nurses planted a seed to pursue a career in the medical field. 

“I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field,” Leah said. “Originally, I wanted to be a doctor, and then I realized that I like more personal contact with patients—having that patient-care aspect was really important to me.” 

She first heard about Berea from her grandparents, but Leah was reluctant to consider a college so far from home. Berea’s small campus and small class size were  attractive to her, but its impressive nursing program, ranked No. 5 of the 50 best residential BSN programs by TopRNtoBSN.com, is what drew her here. 

“I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field. Originally, I wanted to be a doctor, and then I realized that I like more personal contact with patients—having that patient-care aspect was really important to me.”

Leah-Rose ’22

“I’m very family oriented,” Leah explained. “I lived in Florida my entire life and so being so far away was really hard at the beginning, but I really liked that the professors knew your name, and you were not just a face in a classroom somewhere up in the top. That was a huge motivating factor.”

Leah, like many Berea students, feels having a support system of people who know what you’re going through is vital to success. She has grown close to her peers over the past four years in the nursing program as well as her teammates on Berea’s cheerleading squad. 

“I’ve never been in a place that’s so accepting and encouraging,” she said. “Everyone is kind of going through the same things. There are a lot of professors and staff here that graduated from here. They know how Berea is, and they know what you’re going through, so they’re very encouraging.” 

Leah plans to return to Florida after graduation to work at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, and though her interest is in labor and delivery, she is eager to gain any experience she can early in her career. She is also considering travel nursing within the United States before going back to school to specialize in labor and delivery. She said she may even be interested in midwifery if her passion in this area continues to grow. 

To Berea’s generous donors, Leah wants to express her gratitude for the opportunities afforded to her. “I definitely would not be where I am today if I hadn’t gotten the opportunities and met the people I’ve met at Berea,” she said. “I think a lot of students would say the same. I wouldn’t be the same person without Berea, and I love the person that I am and the person I’ve become at Berea.” 

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