Michael Schantz

Associate of Applied Science in Nursing

When a medical condition prevented Schantz from continuing his career in the maritime industry he began to consider what was next. Schantz’s choice brought him to Yakima Valley College.

Schantz was working as a tugboat deckhand/engineer when he suddenly fell ill while traveling.

“I progressively got worse and I ended up having surgery to correct the medical issue,” he said. “I recovered, but this injury made it so I couldn’t stay in the industry. When I lost the ability to stay in the maritime field, after an initial adjustment period, I decided to work toward a dream I had always had, to become a nurse.”

Schantz first became interested in pursuing a nursing degree from Yakima Valley College due to the reputation of the program and high success rate of students passing the NCLEX nurse licensure exam.

“I was compelled to attend Yakima Valley College due to the stellar reputation of the nursing program, the convenient location and affordability of tuition, and my ability to further my career while raising my children,” said Schantz.

He noted many faculty and staff helped contributed to his success in YVC’s Nursing Program including Shannon Hopkins in the English department, and Carol Milliron in the Nursing program.

“Shannon [Hopkins] and Carol [Milliron] both have made a difference in my life as a student. Each have high expectations of their students and both were able to motivate myself and others through their unique and caring teaching styles to work hard, and to understand what we learned.”

Schantz also highlighted how YVC’s Disability Support Services (DSS) program worked with his instructors to help give him the additional support needed.

“I have had a lifelong learning disability and have support through Disability Support Services,” he said. “Carol was very willing to work with me and my disability, she noticed a few things on my exams and discussed them up with me. She encouraged me to go back to DSS and to get a few new accommodations she felt would benefit me on taking her and all future exams.”

Schantz is on track to finish his second year of YVC’s Nursing program by June 2022. Afterwards he plans on taking the NCLEX nurse licensure exam and to begin working as a registered nurse in the Yakima Valley. Ultimately, he hopes to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Washington State University.

“I want to gain as much knowledge as I can to have a great career and to become a great nurse to serve my community.”

He also hopes that his story will help inspire others to follow their dreams. To those students starting out, he shares the following advice, “Have a plan in place first before starting [at a] community college. Have a really good idea on what career you want to pursue and start taking courses in that field along with the general education courses you have to complete for your degree. I would also like to advise new students to search for grants and scholarships. Or, if you’re working, talk to your company about tuition reimbursement.”