Iryna St. John ‘20

Iryna St. JohnMeet Iryna St. John '20, who recently received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Wayne State University College of Nursing. Iryna moved to the U.S. from the Ukraine nine years ago. She says, “I had one piece of luggage and barely spoke English.” Upon her arrival she began her journey to fulfill her dream of making a positive impact on those around her. With a motto of “never give up,” Iryna graduated from community college with a 4.0 GPA and continued her education at Wayne State University.

As a recent graduate and the former president of the Wayne State University Student Nurses Association, Iryna details how things have changed in light of the global pandemic. She mentions that being the president of such a highly recognized organization is both a “huge responsibility,” and a “big honor.” During her time as president, Iryna helped with the organization’s volunteer efforts in the community as well as fundraising.

When asked about the changes she’s experienced due to COVID-19 Iryna says, “Not having a commencement ceremony was the biggest change. Safety is the most important thing, so I understand why we had the virtualized graduation.” She said she was able to still make the day a holiday for herself by celebrating her accomplishments with her family and friends. She adds, “Despite all of the changes, I still had a quality education and I was able to graduate on time.” She appreciates the efforts made on behalf of the College of Nursing to make her and all graduates feel special during this time.

“It is very scary to graduate. It’s scary to be in the healthcare field at this time…but I am without fear,” Iryna says about joining the workforce amidst a worldwide pandemic. Iryna’s dream is to make significant contributions to cancer research and to one day find a cure for cancer. She’ll begin her career and the next step toward making her dream come true next month in the Bone Marrow Unit of the Karmanos Cancer Institute. WSUAA is proud to welcome Iryna to our Warrior Alumni Family. Thank you for being Warrior Strong!


Warrior Impact highlights the compassion, hard work and unwavering determination of WSU alumni during the COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts of those who are taking a stand to end systemic racism and positively impact the continued fight for racial equality and justice. If you have a story you’d like to share about you or a fellow alum, submit your story here.

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