Nursing student to speak during commencement
Finlandia University’s Class of 2018 will hear from nursing major Melissa Helppi during commencement as the non-traditional student was named Student Representative. Helppi is well known around campus for her involvement, dedication to excellence and proven ability as a leader.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to be a nurse and to help people,” Helppi said of her decision to go to school while raising her four children. “It’s a desire that all of my classmates also had. We often had instructors ask us when we knew we wanted to be a nurse, and it’s something all of us think about often. It’s a calling we all felt.”
That calling led her to Finlandia, and early on she had success as she was a member of Finlandia’s inaugural chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society for First-Year Students. The accomplishment was just the start as she will graduate with a 3.93 grade point average, earning her Summa Cum Laude recognition.
“I’m really proud of this accomplishment,” she said.
Helppi distinctly remembers the day she was in the hospital after giving birth to her fourth child when she signed the paperwork necessary for Finlandia scholarship applications. “I look back and wonder how we managed, but my husband, older kids and sister-in-law have been extremely supportive,” she said. “It was a big thing for our entire family. To be an older person and a mom, it felt almost selfish in ways, but everyone was always supportive of my goals.”
Accomplishments for Melissa Helppi reach further than the classroom
In addition to incredible academic achievements, Melissa Helppi was also the President of Finlandia University Student Nurses Association and served as a health sciences tutor with TRIO Student Support Services. Outside of FinnU, she completed an internship at Aspirus Keweenaw, where she was invited to continue employment as a BSN RN after the internship.
“My time here was such a blur, we were all so busy all the time,” she said while thinking back to the late nights, countless hours in labs, and the clinical experience that she learned so much from.
Helppi was born in Germany and moved around quite a bit as a child while her father served in the Air Force. Although she lived in several locations, she always considered the Copper Country to be home. After graduating high school she moved back to the area.
“It’s such a great close-knit community,” she said. “We love raising our children here. It feels safe, and we love the beauty of the outdoors that surround us.”
Immediately upon graduation, Helppi will be traveling to Africa for three weeks as part of the Service and Learning in Tanzania experience. When she returns home, she will begin her nursing career at Aspirus Keweenaw in Laurium, working in the Medical-Surgical Unit.
Learn more about Graduation Day at Finlandia University, and read a bio of Melissa Helppi by visiting finlandia.edu/graduation.Tags: Aspirus Keweenaw, Graduation Day 2018, Melissa Helppi