Ready to heal the world

TU nursing student wins prestigious scholarship while finishing internship at Johns Hopkins

By Kyle Hobstetter on August 2, 2022

Onyedika Onyemeziem on campus
Onyedika Onyemeziem '23, is a nursing major who has spent the summer interning at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and was recently named an American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) Board of Directors Student Scholar. (Alex Wright / Towson University) 

Growing up in Owings Mills, Maryland, Onyedika Onyemeziem always wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps of being a psychiatric nurse.

Now, as an intern in the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center psychiatric unit, she has taken her next step toward her future.

“This internship gave me more confidence to stay in nursing,” Onyemeziem says. “I like to see people get healthy. I’ve watched people who have gone from really withdrawn to being out [in] their environment and talking with fellow patients. Watching that, it makes you feel very accomplished.”

Another of Onyemeziem’s achievements was being named an American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) Board of Directors Student Scholar.

The award includes a one-year APNA membership; networking opportunities; professional development; and registration, travel and lodging to attend the APNA annual conference in Long Beach, California. She will join TU assistant professor Briana Snyder, who will be presenting there.

“[The scholarship] feels like a reward, because there have been times when I don’t know if I’m picking the right field or what I’m doing relates to the career I want,” Onyemeziem says. “But I’ve used the opportunities I’ve had to make sure the end goal is psychiatric nursing.”

Onyemeziem will spend the next academic year completing her clinicals—in pediatrics at Mercy Medical Center, family medicine at Johns Hopkins and intensive care at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center—before graduating this spring.

And while she’s excited to stay in a hospital setting, she will miss taking classes on TU’s campus, particularly her Honors courses.

One of Onyemeziem’s favorite aspects of the Honors College was taking classes in subjects outside her major, like botany, literature and coding.

“My classes made me feel excited for school,” Onyemeziem says. “I would have never learned about coding, never learned about plants if I wasn’t in the Honors College. These classes were not only fun, they made me better a person in terms of relating to other people and understanding other people’s backgrounds.”

Onyemeziem also participated in two research projects as part of her Honors curriculum.

The first, with assistant nursing professor Mark Walker, focused on how mindfulness can help nurses dealing with stress and anxiety.

The second was an interdisciplinary project with Seth Gitter, a professor in the Department of Economics, where they studied how menarche, the age when a woman gets her first period, affects a person’s education, employment, personal life and more.

Onyemeziem says TU has prepared her professionally and personally, noting, when she came to the university, she described herself as shy. Now she says she’s outgoing and ready to tackle the world.

“I don’t know what I would’ve done without Towson University and the Honors College,” she says.