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Great Starts: Jordan Saari ’19
Portrait of student Jordan Saari

Great Starts: Jordan Saari ’19

From time to time, we like to showcase a new SNC grad who’s entered the workplace or grad school. Success stories like these are pretty common. In fact, 94 percent of our graduates are in jobs or grad school within nine months of graduation — and most of them much sooner than that!

Hometown: Green Bay, Wis.
Graduation year: 2019
Degree: Bachelor of Science (Nursing)
Plans after graduation: Jordan joined Aspirus Wausau Hospital as an RN in the neonatal intensive-care unit.

You didn’t start at St. Norbert …

I was originally at UW-Madison for my first semester. When you’re a high-school senior, the idea in your head is to leave the area. I thought I wanted to go to a Big 10 school. So, I pushed the idea of SNC aside; a huge mistake on my part. It’s a lot harder to make friends and join associations at bigger schools. The teacher-to-student ratio was too large. Class sizes were like 350 for chemistry. Lots of study groups were run by teaching assistants who did a lot of our grading. It’s also really hard to get into their nursing school. It’s a great place, just not for me. Here, I talked with a counselor about the nursing program and the bridge to Bellin. It was a great fit. I knew I wanted to be a NICU nurse and that I’d be transferring to Bellin College by junior year.

What were classes like at SNC?

I took my general education classes here: biology, micro-biology and other core classes. Coming here and being in a lab with only 15 other students was so beneficial. Professor Bailey for biology was amazing. That was the first time I really enjoyed my science classes. I got to work with cadavers in the Gehl-Mulva Science Center for my human anatomy class and that was a really cool thing; not everyone gets to do that. I also took an amazing communication course with Professor Herrman. I learned how important it is to communicate well and form relationships. It’s such an important factor in building a foundation and helping you move to your next stage of life in business, with supervisors, just everybody. When I volunteered in the neonatal intensive-care unit at St. Vincent Hospital, that communication course helped me form strong relationships with the staff, supervisors and parents.

In addition to volunteering, what other activities did you try?

I joined the dance team. I started classes in January and tryouts were later in the spring. I tried out and was on the dance team my sophomore year.

Now you’ve lined up your ideal nursing job …

I accepted a position at Aspirus Wausau Hospital in their NICU. It’s pretty rare to be a new RNBSN graduate and get right into an intensive-care unit. Typically, you do medical surgery, basic care for adults first. But just through my communication skills, building relationships, making connections and putting myself out there, I was able to squeeze my way into a dream position. I even had two separate offers. My goal is to work for a couple of years in the NICU setting, then go back to school for my master’s degree as a nurse practitioner. I have had such a solid foundation in De Pere and Green Bay; I feel like I’ve found myself here. I might move away and expand my horizons for a bit, but I’ll come back to this area to raise a family someday.

Any final thoughts about your year-and-a-half at SNC?

Having the friendly faces, the helpful faculty and building my communication skills has been fantastic. The campus does a great job of creating its own unique environment here, separate from Green Bay. It feels like you are in a new community. You can come here from Chicago or wherever and realize there is a lot to do outside of campus. But as a local, it can also feel like its own friendly community, separate from the rest of Green Bay.