Senior Spotlight: Nicole Taliercio, BS Nursing, Spring 2020 Co-Valedictorian

Leah Schmerl
Nicole Taliercio

Nicole Taliercio planned to become a nurse since she was a student at St. Joseph by the Sea High School in Staten Island, and now that she is graduating, she is one step closer to that dream.

Nicole has been a stand-out in her department for her four-year career. She served as co-president of the Nursing Club, spearheading charitable initiatives including a recent medical-mask donation to a local nursing home and police precinct, and a Christmastime distribution of supply-filled stockings to U.S. military members.

Nicole stellar academic record – she maintained a 4.0 grade point average at St. Francis College – along with her co-curricular and public service record have earned her recognition in the College. She was inducted into the Duns Scotus Honor Society and was awarded the prestigious Duns Scotus Scholarship last year.

To cap off her St. Francis College career, Nicole was selected at the Co-Valedictorian of the Spring 2020 graduates, sharing the honor with Alexa Rutkowska, who is earning her master's degree in psychology.

Nicole reflected on her years at St. Francis College and what's next for her.

How did it feel to find out you're Co-Valedictorian of the spring 2020 graduating class?

It is a true honor and privilege to be chosen as the Co-Valedictorian of St. Francis College. This has been a dream of mine since I sat at my brother's SFC graduation in 2016 and it feels so surreal. All the hard work and sleepless nights paid off for a moment like this. I can't thank my family and friends enough for always encouraging me and supporting me towards being the best version of myself. Having a strong faith and praying to God in the chapel before every exam has helped get me to where I am today. In high school, my teacher taught me that hard work will always trump all, and this is something that I have lived by ever since then. This honor is something I will forever be grateful for and I will certainly never forget.

How did you originally decide to attend St. Francis College?

My brother went to St. Francis College and graduated from there in 2016. Every time he spoke about it, he was so happy. He'd say, "I love it, you have to go see it." He encouraged me to visit the campus and when I went, I really liked what the school had to offer and I loved the neighborhood.

Why Nursing?

I always had a love for caring for people and I wanted a career where I could make a difference in peoples' lives. From a young age, I always excelled in the sciences. So, I explored nursing and fell in love with it. In high school, I volunteered at a hospital and shadowed a nurse. I love the ambience of the health care setting. I want to be there for people through their hardest times and help them through it, both getting better or helping them transition to the afterlife.

What St. Francis College professors had a big impact on you?

One is Professor Charlene Habeeb. From the first day of her class, she always looked at us as her colleagues. She always called us her future nurses. She was just so compassionate and she wanted to see us succeed. She has a heart of gold and exemplifies what it means to be a nurse. It really has been a true highlight to take her class and get to know her as a person.

The other professor is Dr. Anne D'Antuono. She always called us extraordinary nurses and always encouraged us to be extraordinary nurses. It's just a simple phrase, but it's something that will stick with me forever. Her passion, humor, and kindness are truly special and I loved getting to know her on a personal level.

Those two professors have been a highlight for me in my nursing career. Their encouragement and passion towards helping my classmates and I succeed have touched each of us in a special way.

What has being co-President in the Nursing Club taught you?

The Nursing Club has taught me what it means to be a leader, the value of teamwork, and the true importance of giving back to the community. The club also helped me break out of my shell and gain more confidence within myself. I met amazing people and it has been so great to watch my executive board grow both as individuals and as a team.

I was also Vice President of Nurse's Christian Fellowship, which is our other nursing club. It involves bringing faith into nursing, giving spiritual care, and caring for people of different religions and backgrounds. Both clubs have truly been special experiences. They allowed me to follow true Franciscan values and make a difference in peoples' lives.

How has it been to finish up your last semester remotely?

It's been a little tough and definitely an adjustment. It's hard to be on a computer all day and sometimes it's hard to concentrate. But we made it through. Being senior year, it was kind of unfortunate that it had to end this way, but under the circumstances you have to go with it.

What is next for you?

Now that I'm done with classes, the next step is to take my NCLEX, which is the RN licensure exam. I plan to take the exam this summer and then hopefully work in either a pediatric ICU or neonatal ICU.

I am in the middle of a job search right now. I have an interview with [a major New York City hospital] next week. I had an externship and volunteer opportunity which have helped me with my job hunt.

Also, I one hundred percent plan to go back to school within the next two years. I don't know where exactly. It depends on if I want to become a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist. I'm still undecided, but I will definitely be back in school.