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College of Nursing


Active duty

In 2019, the University of South Carolina College of Nursing’s online graduate programs ranked #2 for veterans by the U.S. News and World Report. For one student, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is a perfect fit with her service as a nurse in the military.

Melissa Mather joined the U.S. Navy in 2000 after graduating high school. While on active duty, she graduated from UofSC’s Columbia campus with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in 2011.

“Serving as a nurse in the military is one of the most rewarding experiences. It is an honor to care for our soldiers, sailors and marines. My time and experiences have been very humbling.”

- Melissa Mather, BSN '11 and DNP student

After a positive experience in the undergraduate program, numerous deployments and making time for her family, Melissa decided that the online DNP program would be the right next step in her career. She is in her 5th semester of the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) program. Because of her many deployments while in the program, she feels the online format has been invaluable and she has received more support and positive mentorship from every faculty member than she could have imagined. “Their attitudes have been supportive and focused on my success in the program,” she said.

To students interested in a path similar to hers, Melissa shared that there may not always be a better or more convenient time to pursue goals. Rather, prioritize becoming the best version of you, starting today. Her favorite quote for her junior sailors is, “We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” Melissa’s upcoming graduation aligns well with her retirement from the Navy. From there, she plans to work in a rural setting and involve herself in academia.