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Dr. Susan LaRocco - Nursing
Dr. Susan LaRocco originally joined Curry College as a temporary faculty member in the Division of Nursing with the notion that she would be teaching at Curry for only a year. But after the initial honeymoon period ended, Dr. LaRocco had fallen in love with the College...and she quickly found that the feeling was mutual.
"The faculty member I was filling in for decided not to return from leave, so when the Division decided they were looking for someone full time and asked me to interview for the position, I was really excited. I already loved it here," she recalls.
Cut to ten-plus years later in the relationship, Dr. LaRocco serves as a professor and coordinator of Curry's traditional Nursing program. She credits the close-knit community atmosphere at Curry College as the main reason she has become a fixture in the Division for over a decade.
"It's really fun - sometimes a little hectic - but I enjoy it because it gives me a lot of student contact outside of the classes I already teach."
"I've taught at many other schools during my career, but what keeps me here is that we have small classes, students who know and help each other and are really involved both in the major and across campus."
In her role as coordinator, Dr. LaRocco is responsible for the nearly 500 undergraduate nursing students. Her main focus is to facilitate the unique student-faculty relationship Curry is so well known for.
"I work with a fabulous faculty. They are people who really care about the students. Every time you turn around, somebody's doing something fun and interesting with our students outside of the classroom."
Some of these activities include attending local health fairs, interacting with residents of nearby senior residential communities, running flu clinics in Boston and participating in healthcare legislation forums at the Massachusetts State House, to name a few.
Dr. LaRocco is also involved outside of the classroom and the College, serving as a member of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN). She has spent much of her career researching why men historically have not chosen careers in nursing and through the Assembly, pursues ways to attract more men to the profession.
It's something that has its roots in the 1950s and 1960s, when Dr. LaRocco says many nursing schools refused to even admit men. To help tackle this stigma the Curry Nursing program has adopted the use of gender-neutral terminology in all classroom settings, among other policies.
Dr. LaRocco boasts several meaningful accolades in her career, but none as prestigious as being awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year to teach at the University of Jordan at Amman. The Fulbright Scholarship is an honor which is bestowed upon only a select group of scholars, students and professionals each year.
"My focus will be on graduate level courses in Patient Safety in the Clinical Environment and Global Perspectives of Nursing," Dr. LaRocco said about the Scholarship. "Additional activities will include supervising graduate students in thesis preparation and assisting faculty and students with editing manuscripts for publication."
"Being named a Fulbright Scholar is among the most prestigious awards in higher education," said William Nancarrow, Curry College's Interim Dean of Faculty. "Dr. LaRocco is a tremendous educator and scholar, as well as a world traveler. She is the ideal representative of Curry College and the United States to the world."
But Dr. LaRocco's favorite part of the job is hearing from her former students who are now thriving in the field.
"It's wonderful. It's so nice to hear how they are doing. Our program is a rigorous one and it's very rewarding to see these people go out into the world and become successful."
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