Tyler Kwapis is a Registered Nurse employed at Hurley Medical Center in their Emergency Department. Tyler helps care for people of all ages and illnesses. He was hired in January 2020. Here is his story, in his words:
“I always believed in the power of working hard. Since I was a young man, my firefighter father and nurse mother always instilled in me the importance of discipline and grit, and to never give up when you have your mindset on the right goal. I took these lessons and applied them to everything in my life. Before college, I was involved in things like sports and scouting, where I earned the rank of Eagle Scout. I also took those lessons to my health and the health of my peers, becoming a national spokesperson for the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. In this role, I learned the importance of helping others towards a healthier future. Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to “help people” but didn’t exactly know what I could do to help others.
Thankfully, I found an interest in nursing. I loved biology and math as a student, and I saw a real-world way to apply those lessons to help others. It is the perfect fit for me.
As the first person in my family to hold a bachelor’s degree, I didn’t always understand the value of higher education. However, I’m very glad that I decided to attend a 4-year university to obtain my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Saginaw Valley State University was more than a school to me, it was home. I fell in love the moment I stepped foot on campus. On the other hand, I didn’t understand the immense cost of a college degree, and often worried about how I was going to pay for my education. I worked full-time in the summer months, and often worked 2 or 3 jobs during the school year in order to stay out of as much debt as possible, but still needed help.
After 3 years of working hard and trying to keep my head above water, I realized that I couldn’t afford to finish nursing school, and even considered dropping out. This is where GST Michigan Works! stepped in. Working with the GST Michigan Works! team, I was able to get the funds that I needed to finish my degree and truly focus on how to heal and save people, instead of how to save pennies for my education. I am forever thankful for Kathy and Nicole, who helped me stay on the path of higher education by answering my questions and guiding me through the difficult finances of college. Because of them, I am able to do what I love every single day.”