On Dec. 14, when Gurpreet Cheema accepts his nursing diploma on the stage in the Colorado Convention Center, it will be his second major life-changing ceremony this year.
“It was a big day,” he said, recalling his naturalization ceremony this past Sept. 11, when he became a U.S. citizen. “It was important, because I can stay with my wife forever, I can work, and I can dream of a good future for my kids.”
Cheema joined his wife (now five months pregnant) in Colorado, with a pharmacy education from India, a food science education from Canada, and a strong interest in medicine. But he wanted a more interactive profession, he said.
Again, his wife — who moved from India with her family to the Mile High state when she was young — influenced his next move. She suggested nursing as a way to nurture his caring nature.
Cheema found working with the Colfax Community Network, which supports some of Aurora’s most underserved children, a memorable part of his education.
The afterschool program, which includes many kids living in Colfax motels not far from campus, involved reading, providing nutritional food and spending quality time with the children, Cheema said. “It makes you feel really happy from the inside.”