суббота, 15 сентября 2012 г.


Byline: Alaina Potrikus Staff writer

Junior and Carla Nelson grew up less than an intersection away from one another in their Brooklyn neighborhood.

They shared a common Haitian heritage, and Carla sometimes visited the health store where Junior worked.

Nevertheless, their paths never crossed for two decades. But after meeting at a college party, their lives and their future came together completely.

Within two years, the couple courted, married, had their first child and began living in Upstate New York, where Junior Nelson was working toward a bachelor's degree in information technology at Morrisville State College.

On Saturday, the Nelsons will don matching caps and gowns to graduate together from the college's two-year nursing program. The couple took the same classes, commuting 45 minutes from their home in Norwich. During their clinical experience, they worked on the same floor, the cardiac unit at St. Luke's Memorial Hospital. They put in hours working at the campus cyber lab and joined the Collegiate Science/Technology Entry Program to participate in volunteer activities.

'The support was there,' said Junior Nelson, soft-spoken but with a big smile. 'It's all about teamwork.'

'You don't know what you can do until you do it,' agreed Carla Nelson, the more outspoken of the two with a bubbly personality. 'I found that person, I found that match. We're in this for the long haul.'

They learned quickly how to balance their studies, their young family and their marriage.

'He needs his down time, as any man does,' said Carla.

'Sundays are for football,' Junior added.

Having a live-in study partner had its drawbacks. The couple sometimes made the same mistakes by studying together. But the benefits were there, too. Carla Nelson said her husband is a 'human calculator' whose first love is mathematics. Junior Nelson teases his wife about her competitive nature.

Both believe in putting their patients first, a skill they honed during clinical experiences at Morrisville State.

'In New York City, things are so fast-paced,' Carla Nelson said. 'Upstate, things are slower. We can take time at the bedside. Morrisville was the best place to learn that.'

After graduation on Saturday, the Nelsons plan to return to Brooklyn to begin their careers while continuing their education. Carla Nelson wants to finish her four-year degree, and Junior has his eye on a master's.

They hope to find full-time positions at the same hospital, Carla Nelson as a nurse anesthetist and Junior Nelson in the field of nursing informatics.

Alaina Potrikus can be reached at apotrikus@syracuse.com or 470-3252.



Jim Commentucci/The Post-Standard

HUSBAND AND WIFE Carla and Junior Nelson will both graduate with nursing degrees this weekend from Morrisville State College.