Student: Teresa Hupp
Teresa Hupp wants to follow in her mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps and become a nurse — but she also wants to make her own unique impression on the field.
Hupp, a student in East Carolina University’s College of Nursing, decided when she was in high school that a career in nursing matched her desire to help people and her love for science. Her decision to pursue that future at ECU came just as naturally.
“I chose ECU, not just because of how amazing their College of Nursing is,” she said, “but because of the welcoming staff, faculty and students who invest in this university and its programs. The people make the place, and that is something so special about ECU and the Greenville community.”
Some of the people closest to her led her onto the nursing path.
“My mom and grandmother are nurses, so I’ve had some exposure to the field from a young age,” Hupp said. “I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do when I was in high school, but I always loved science and helping people. I also loved how versatile nursing is without having to be in school forever.”
ECU’s College of Nursing offers degrees that align with every step in a nursing career, from those that prepare new nurses to a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree suited for nurse leaders.
On her journey to become a nurse, Hupp has learned a lot about herself, including how to advocate for herself and others.
“I’ve learned that I have to be my biggest fan and advocate,” she said, “because if I can’t empower myself, how will I be able to pour into those around me? While I am unsure where I will end up specializing, I want to pursue a higher degree and become a nurse educator to help empower the next generation of nurses.”
Hupp has also learned that while doing well academically is essential, what is more vital is how she takes the information she learns and applies it to real-world situations.
“Coming to college, I had to come to terms with the fact that at the end of the day, the letter grade you get isn’t what’s important, but true understanding of content and how it will assist you within your field,” she said.
Witnessing the pandemic has also had an impact on the way Hupp views nursing — and nurses themselves.
“The pandemic displayed the resiliency and human nature of nursing professionals. Social media made this so visible by nurses showing the legit battle scars COVID left them. It has made the world realize that nurses are people we can’t function without and deserve that same level of respect,” she said.
Hupp is also focused on the fact that the pandemic exposed the need for educating the community on health and health care, resources and the importance of seeking care.
“The pandemic has shone a light on the importance of education and that community members don’t know what they don’t know, so there needs to be accessible resources to promote a more holistic view of health,” she said. “The pandemic also put a pause on some getting routine care and heightened the anxiety of community members when it comes to health, creating obstacles that the health care community needs to overcome.”
Hupp can see herself becoming part of the solution.
“I picture myself becoming an advocate for nurses and other professionals because at the end of the day, we aren’t superhuman and deserve the same grace as everyone else,” she said.
Hupp’s experiences so far are enriching her education and expanding the possibilities in her chosen field.
“For the past year, I have worked on a research project with Dr. Kim Larson focusing on palliative care in Latinos with advanced cancer,” she said. “This project has left an impact on me, as I have had conversations with clients who are in such a delicate time of their lives. Hearing their stories and being able to see the growth in understanding and resources for this population has been extremely inspiring.”
Learning from patients and members of the community have cemented her confidence in her path, while mentors, faculty and other students are also helping shape Hupp’s future.
“The relationships and support network the College of Nursing has fostered for me this past year have made a huge impact on me,” she said. “I wouldn’t have made it this far in nursing school without these people.”
Name: Teresa Hupp
College: College of Nursing
Classification/Year: Junior/Second Semester of Nursing School
Hometown: Wake Forest, North Carolina
Hobbies/interests: Intramural soccer and basketball, cycle classes at the rec, reading self-help books and exploring all the eateries in Greenville
Clubs and Organizations: Rotaract Club, Zeta Tau Alpha, Panhellenic Association (Current Executive Vice President), Phi Kappa Phi, ECU Honors College, EC Scholars
Favorite hangout: Town Common, especially when there’s an event going on
Favorite place on campus: Health Sciences Student Center or the mall
Favorite place to eat: Yaba
Favorite class: Nursing Care of Families During the Childbearing Phase
Professors who influenced you the most: Dr. Allen and Dr. Kim Larson
Favorite TV show: “Gilmore Girls”
Favorite band/musician: The Driver Era
Favorite movie: “The Blind Side”
Favorite book: The Book Thief (brings me back to when I first read it in middle school every time)
Dream job: I’m not sure what unit I want to go into, but a long-term goal of mine is to become some type of nurse educator while still practicing on the side.
Role model: Harry Styles
Your words to live by: It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey and the friends you make along the way.
What advice do you have for other students? Don’t focus on the accomplishments of others. Invest your time in what will make you feel fulfilled, not necessarily something that will prepare you to work. You have the rest of your life to have a job and make money, so enjoy the present and the opportunities college presents you with.