Alumni of the Mount
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Being at the Mount made me realize how powerful I am; I was quiet no more

Name: Ursula Grace Ortiz Rutter
Degrees & Graduation Years: A.A. in Liberal Arts May 1988, B.S. in Nursing with a Minor in Psychology May 1989
Current Occupation: Registered Nurse in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit)

What benefits and experiences did you gain from your time at the Mount?
Being at the Mount made me realize how powerful I am, as a woman, to be and do what I want. That the sky is the limit, that I had a voice and it mattered and it made a difference in the world. I was quiet no more!

How did your liberal arts education support you as a nursing student?
My Liberal Arts education supported me as a nursing student by seeing the other part of nursing: the humanity! Nursing wasn’t just about the medicine, the biology, the diagnosis, the treatment, the anatomy, the physiology. It was about the person, their family and loved ones, their beliefs, views, perceptions, wants, needs, feelings, their soul, their experiences, their environment. It helped me to see the human behind the patient.

What was the most interesting class you took?
It was a Psychology class. I can’t remember the name of it. It involved us students being open and honest with each other and getting painful things out, things we held inside that no one knew but our classmates. It was so powerful, healing and energetic. I was amazed by my classmates, some of the things they had been through, such survivors!

What inspired you to major in nursing and minor in psychology?
All through high school, I always wanted to be a beautician. But senior year, at my college fair, I ended up talking to an admissions counselor from the Mount. She spoke of the nursing program from her personal experience, even though she didn’t finish because she realized that nursing wasn’t the career for her. So she changed her major, graduated from the Mount and was now working for the Mount as an admissions counselor. Just hearing her speak to me about the nursing program made me change my mind that day about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

I minored in Psychology because I was fascinated by all the Psych classes and what I was learning from them. I just wanted to take more of them. And I did! They were priceless education.

What is one of your favorite memories at the Mount?
My two favorite Mount memories were my Graduation days. May 1988 at the Doheny campus, I graduated with my A.A. in Liberal Arts. May 1989, I graduated at the Chalon campus (the ceremony was in the Circle on Mother’s Day) with my B.S. in Nursing. I was the first to graduate from college from both sides of my family. I was so proud of myself and it was wonderful to see how proud my family was of me. I felt like I could do anything, it was so empowering!

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Photo taken on Mother’s Day (May 14, 1989) as Ursula graduates with her BSN and minor in Psychology. She’s pictured with MSMC President Sister Magdalen Coughlin.

What did you do after graduating with your bachelor’s?
After graduating with my BSN, I worked as a Registered Nurse in the civilian world as well as for the United States Air Force as a commissioned officer.

What advice do you have to share with current students?
My advice to current students is to never give up. Keep working hard and fighting for what you want because in the end, it will be so worth it. The other thing is to take care of yourself and be true to yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others. You may want to finish the nursing program in 4 years, but if you don’t, that’s okay. So long as you finish it. I went to the Mount for 5 1/2 years to get my BSN. I had many bumps in the road, but I never gave up! Those bumps in the road made me who I am today!

Finish the sentence (Inspired by Oprah’s Soulful Sunday)
I am happiest when: I am surrounded by love!
The biggest choice I had to make to fulfill my destiny: was leaving my family and all that I knew to join the Air Force. I made the choice to leave the comforts of home and family to live in other states where I knew no one!

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