Mathias Mukooba earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at MSU Denver in 2014. But his path here crossed thousands of miles and a multitude of careers. He came to Denver seven years ago from Uganda, where he had earned a degree in veterinary medicine. He worked in a variety of fields from veterinary medicine to social work, sales & marketing, public speaking as well as jobs in public health.
“I held so many positions,” Mathias said. “One of the most meaningful was working with mothers and children in HIV clinics and malaria prevention clinics.” He explained that these experiences made him realize that caring for others was his calling.
Mathias said that when he came to Denver, he applied to a variety of schools and enrolled at Front Range Community College. There, he took classes in subjects such as biology, chemistry, and nutrition to prepare for eventually getting his nursing degree.
“When I was ready to apply to a program to get my BSN, I already knew about Metropolitan State University of Denver,” he said. “I had visited before and I liked the people and the location. When I walked around the MSU Denver campus, people were amazing. They didn’t care that I was from somewhere else or spoke with an accent. This place felt welcoming. That was not the same for other schools I visited.”
Mathias said that when he was applying at MSU Denver everyone from the registration office to professors went out of their way to help him. He chose MSU Denver because of the warmth and acceptance he felt here. Plus, the Accelerated Nursing Option helped him complete his BSN in just 17 months.
“The accelerated program meant that we didn’t have to go over the basics again,” he explained. “Our teachers knew that we were up to the task and could move ahead quickly. They did such a good job of getting me ready for my career.“
The diversity of his peers at MSU Denver also made Mathias feel at home. “I felt like some other places judged me because I have a strong accent,” he recalled. “They think that if you have an accent, then your English is not perfect and you are maybe not as smart. But at MSU Denver it never mattered. The teachers walk with you from wherever you are – molding you into what you need to be to find success. They really care. Plus they have so many connections in the field and that makes a big difference.”
After graduation, Mathias said he got a job right away with Denver Health working in acute care. “The favorite part of my job is connecting with people,” he said. “I like that I make a positive difference in someone’s day.”
Mathias went on to say that his job has made him realize that people end up in the hospital because of an illness, but that might not be all that is going on with them. “Sometimes to get well, they also just need someone to just talk to, someone to care about them,” he said. “I try to get to know them and learn about them so I can treat them better.”
“This is where I am supposed to be,” Mathias said of his career in nursing. “I am so glad that MSU Denver welcomed me and helped me make it happen. I tell all my friends to go to MSU Denver. My wife went there also and she is a nurse as well.”
Mathias has three children, ages 14, 12 and 7. “Maybe they will be roadrunners too,” he laughed.
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