First Nursing Students Graduate from RGC

 The first four students to graduate with the Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College celebrated at the commencement ceremony held in May. Pictured from left to right are Dawnie Espinoza of Del Rio, Amanda Van Cleve of Uvalde, Leticia F. Rodríguez of Eagle Pass, and Laura Guerrero, also of Del Rio.

By Laura Nelson

The first class of students to receive the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College graduated in May.

Dawnie Espinoza of Del Rio knew in high school that she wanted to be a nurse and worked her way through the nursing alphabet, starting out as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), then an MA (Medical Assistant). She earned her LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse), and finally her RN (Registered Nurse) after completing her education at Southwest Texas Junior College. She works at Val Verde Regional medical Center in Women’s Health where she covers everything from labor and delivery to nursing newborns. She hopes to continue her education and earn a Master of Science degree in Nursing.

Another Del Rio citizen, Laura Guerrero, worked as an RN in a variety of health care settings. She returned to school and earned a bachelor’s degree in 2008. She currently teaches in the Health Science-CNA certification program at Del Rio High School and is considering completing a master’s degree.

Leticia Rodríguez works as a school nurse in Eagle Pass. She completed her LVN at Southwest Texas Junior College in 1997 and worked at the Uvalde Memorial Hospital. She returned home to Eagle Pass to work and continue her education. Even though she had her first child during the last semester of her associate’s degree in nursing, she persevered and finished on time.

For more than 20 years, Amanda Van Cleve has served the nursing profession. As an LVN, she began a career in nephrology/dialysis nursing and continued her education, eventually earning her RN. After facing adversity in her personal life, she taught for a short time, then returned to nursing as an administrator. She plans to enter a master of science in nursing program to become an advanced practice nurse.

Dr. Geraldine Goosen is the Director of RN to BSN program at Sul Ross Rio Grande College. She said, “We are pleased to have the first four graduates of a much-needed nursing program in southwest Texas that provides an additional opportunity to achieve academic goals. The nursing faculty are dedicated, experienced individuals who wish to contribute to an advanced level of nursing practice.”

The RN to BSN completion program opened in the fall of 2014, offering Registered Nurses who are licensed to practice in Texas an opportunity to finish a bachelor’s degree. Classes meet using online instruction, video conferencing, and scheduled times with faculty. They are designed to accommodate the schedules of busy adults and are open to both full- and part-time students. For additional information, contact Dr. Goosen by phone at 830.931.4371 or via email at