The Dickinson State University (DSU) Department of Nursing held its annual Student Nurse of the Year (SNOY) Banquet, which reflected on the 2021-22 academic year in the Department of Nursing and looked ahead to future plans for the Nursing Student Association. The event concluded with the naming of Erica Martinez-Meza as the 2022 Student Nurse of the Year.

“Winning this award has reassured me that nursing was the right path for me and I’m excited to see where nursing takes me,” stated Martinez-Meza. “It also presents me with the awesome opportunity to give back to my community.”

The Mountain Home, Idaho native, plans to work as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) nurse upon graduation.  After gaining more experience in the field, Martinez-Meza would like to further her education and become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.

“I want to thank all our nursing faculty. I am beyond thankful for the countless hours you’ve worked to see us succeed. I specifically remember the first day of nursing school when professor Teresa Bren said to us, “I know you all are scared to begin this journey and many thinks that we are here to ‘weed’ out the weak but I’m only here to help you succeed and to become a great and competent nurse,” and instantly I knew that we would be in good hands. To the anonymous professor that nominated me to begin with, thank you for thinking of me and I won’t let you down.”

The SNOY Selection Committee consisted of three judges: Tessa Johnson, Executive Director of CountryHouse and Evergreen Dickinson; David Jenkins, CHI St. Alexius Home Health & Hospice Chaplin; and Audrey Charchenko. The committee was charged with selecting an awardee from six nominees. According to the award criteria, the individual selected should be an outstanding junior nursing student, display dedication to the nursing profession, and promote high-quality patient care.

“Erica is so deserving of this award,” stated Macradee Miller, 2021 Student Nurse of the Year. “Erica never fails to lend a helping hand to anyone in need, despite having a busy life herself. She exemplifies commitment to the nursing program, is a phenomenal leader, and her passion for the nursing profession is extremely admirable. I am so happy for her; she deserves this recognition for her hard work and dedication. She will positively impact the lives of many current and prospective nursing students to come!”

Martinez-Meza, in her role as Student Nurse of the Year, will assume leadership of the Nursing Student Association. Part of these responsibilities include representing the students of the Department of Nursing, organizing activities such as food and blood drives, and creating or participating in community health events.