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"The small size, open spirit, proximity to New York City and my home (not to mention the scholarship they offered) all made CNR seem like the right choice. I picked The College of New Rochelle even though I never had a chance to visit the campus. And what a lovely surprise it was when I arrived in New Rochelle and realized that the CNR brochure lived up to the real thing."

Bethany Bellino
Class of 2007
School of Nursing
The College of New Rochelle



Where are you from, Bethany?

I’m from a small town in Maine called Steep Falls. I’ve lived my whole life in Steep Falls, though I have spent considerable time in Florida and North Carolina visiting relatives.


Tell us how you came to CNR for your undergraduate degree.

Well, all throughout high school I was determined to become a doctor, like my father. Everything was about achieving that goal: the classes I took, the clothes I wore, and, of course, the colleges I looked at.

Before the tenth grade, I had started my college search by having folders about the colleges where I might apply. I was considering some of the best pre-med schools on the East Coast, which included schools like Smith and Northeastern. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was throwing away any brochure that wasn’t from a prestigious university, but for some reason I held onto a small brochure from a school I had never heard of near New York City.

I’m still not sure why I never threw that particular brochure away. Something about the CNR brochure appealed to me, though the College didn’t have much of a pre-medical program.  Smith College was my first choice, and they had practically pre-excepted me when halfway through my senior year I had the revelation. I no longer wanted to be a doctor. I knew I wanted to work in the health care field, but what I really wanted was the intimate contact with patients. Having contact with patients was something that I witnessed my dad having, but in the changing field of medicine that type of doctor/patient relationship was not realistic for me.

After my “revelation” I threw away almost my entire file on colleges! Very few of these universities had a nursing program. Yet, perhaps by some providence, I still had a little packet of information from a small women’s college that had an excellent nursing program. In the end, the small size, open spirit, proximity to New York City and my home (not to mention the scholarship they offered) all made CNR seem like the right choice. I prayed over my decision and felt content with my seemingly whirlwind selection process. I picked The College of New Rochelle even though I never had a chance to visit the campus. And what a lovely surprise it was when I arrived in New Rochelle and realized that the CNR brochure lived up to the real thing.


So you’re studying nursing, Bethany?

That’s right. As a junior--following a traditional student’s track--I am in my second of five semesters with clinical rotations.


I have really enjoyed working with the professors of both of my "Nursing" classes.  You know, there are some people we meet in life that we will never forget. Dr. Valencia-Go is one. I’ll be telling my grandchildren about her.  Professor Kathleen Cino was not only my course instructor (lectures) but also my clinical instructor. I don’t know if I have ever come across anyone with more compassion.  She was always someone I could go to for help because I knew she cared about me.



Tell us about some of your favorite professors.

I worked with Professor Kim Walsh for three semesters when I took Biology and Anatomy & Physiology 1+2. Professor Walsh truly loves the topics that she covers. Everyday she’d comes into class full of enthusiasm for the material and for us. I was very sorry when I went beyond those core classes and didn’t get to see her on a weekly basis.

I have really enjoyed working with the professors of both of my "Nursing" classes. For Nursing 1, I had Dr. Geraldine Valencia-Go. She tells great stories that get the students emotionally involved in the class. It is hard to think of a day when we weren’t laughing or feeling grief over some disaster that could have been avoided by someone taking an extra minute out of their day to be professional. Dr. Go works very hard to get everyone prepared for the nursing profession and is so well organized. You know, there are some people we meet in life that we will never forget. Dr. Valencia-Go is one. I’ll be telling my grandchildren about her.

For Nursing Two class, I had Professor Kathleen Cino. She was not only my course instructor (lectures) but also my clinical instructor. I don’t know if I have ever come across anyone with more compassion. From the first day of class, she got to know all of us as individuals. She was always someone I could go to for help because I knew she cared about me. She wasn’t just concerned about my class work, she was genuinely concerned about me as a person. She is really someone very special.


What is your favorite course, Bethany?

I enjoy my clinicals immensely. It is wonderful to work with a variety of clients, and be able to put theory into practice. It makes getting up at five o’clock in the morning all worth it.

As enjoyable as these classes are, I would have to say my favorite class is Dr. Dennis Ryan’s Death, Grief and Religion course. It is so much more than a religion course. It is a special experience. Dr. Ryan flawlessly injects humor into a course that could be drab and difficult to take. It is basically a course about learning to live and be around death. Reflecting on our own lives may not be easy, and certainly not fun, but his class makes an impact. I look forward to going to class each week and hope to forever hold onto the feelings I have when I leave his classroom. The awareness of death and surrounding issues are made clear and make it possible for me to discuss illness and dying with my family and my friends.


What clubs or organizations are you involved with as a student?

I am a Peer Minister, member of the Liturgy Committee, the co-president of N-STAT (Nursing Students Taking Action for Tomorrow) and the secretary of STE (Student Theatre Ensemble). As a peer minister I work as a volunteer in the Campus Ministry office at least an hour each week and run a program each semester. I’ve been working closely with another student and the campus chaplain to plan this semester’s overnight student retreat. Getting the chance to lend an ear and offer support to my fellow students is important to me. People are a priority in this world. Education is good but in the long run making someone’s day even once is what is remembered and ultimately makes the difference.

As part of the liturgy committee I help to make decisions which affect the Sunday Mass and special events held in our campus chapel. I continually learn about my faith and the doctrines behind it. It’s so necessary to understand why a church holds particular traditions and to understand the rituals and their meaning. If that understanding isn’t there, the traditions and rituals can not be adapted for the next generation.

I’ve been an executive member of N-STAT for two years. It is difficult to get the group together at times, but I feel the small steps we’ve made have made great improvements. Our programs continue to grow and become more interactive and interesting. Our "skills party" and "mock check-out" are integral parts of Nursing 1 and Health Assessment classes today.

Student Theatre Ensemble allows students to take control over a theatrical production. We cover all the bases, from directing and designing, to acting and lighting. The students have the power. It is what drew me to the organization last year when I performed in Necessary Targets. Each spring we give the proceeds to a charity related to the show we have produced. Last year the women in Dafir were supported by our production.


Bethany, thank you, for all your time with this interview.

Oh, no problem, I love talking about CNR. It’s my pleasure.

To find out if  CNR is the right choice for you, please contact:


School of Nursing
Office of the Dean
The College of New Rochelle
29 Castle Place
New Rochelle, NY 10805
914-654-5334  
 email: sn@cnr.edu


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