Student graduates Northcentral Technical College ready to make a difference

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Saturday is graduation day for students at Northcentral Technical College. Hundreds of graduates were honored this morning at the commencement ceremony held at Wausau’s Grand Theater.

NTC graduates process into the Grand Theater in Wausau (WSAW Photo).

"We've worked so hard to get to this point, and for it to finally come here at the Grand Theater, it's such a great feeling," said fall 2019 graduate Thomas Nienow.

More than 400 Northcentral Technical College graduates walked across the stage Saturday, and among them was Nienow, who will walk off the stage and start saving lives as an RN at Aspirus Hospital’s cardiac unit.

"I'm graduating with my Associate's Degree in nursing, and right after this I'm going to be starting my job at Aspirus in their cardiac telemetry unit," he said.

He'll be earning his Bachelor's Degree with Purdue University online at the same time, but he's eager to start helping others right away.

"I'm going to be taking care of them at the bedside, so talking with them, maybe they've just come out of surgery, educating them on what those next steps are to helping them get back to the best that they can be,” he said.

He found his love for nursing after a traditional four-year program was no longer exciting him.

“I stopped being interested in the topic I was studying in a four-year college setting. I knew I wanted to go to NTC, but I didn’t know for what,” said the Wausau area native.

"I dove right into the nursing program and I've fallen in love with it ever since," Nienow said.

At NTC, he already has hands-on experience in the field from simulations, clinicals and an internship.

"Just take one class and see where it leads you. If you're interested in healthcare, maybe take just a science class and see if you like it,” he said, explaining how he found his passion.

"I had a goal, and it's so good to accomplish that goal, and have the rewards follow after," he said.