Nursing Professors Retire and Leave an Impact

July 9, 2024—Marisa Blahovich (pictured left), and Jeanie Stivers (pictured right) are associate professors in Nursing and are heading into retirement this summer after their expansive careers in nursing and teaching.

Marisa’s international nursing career has spanned three countries starting in her native Brazil, moving next to Canada, and ultimately bringing her and her family to the States to North Carolina, Michigan, and finally here in Ohio.

She has practiced every facet of nursing in her career while she and her husband raised two daughters, who are now adults pursuing their own careers. She’s been teaching at Kettering College for nine years.

Throughout the twists and turns in her career, she has felt God directing her and putting her in the right place at the right time. She felt a call to start working in education, and in 2001 a back injury and some downtime pushed her to consider this goal again. Right at this time, a headhunter pursued her to move to Michigan where they paid for her entire master’s degree, and she pivoted to a career in nursing education.

As Marisa enters retirement, she admits, “I’ll miss the interactions with students and watching them thrive in their careers.” She loves seeing her previous students now at work as nurses or when they come back to do clinicals as adjunct faculty at Kettering College. Marisa says she has been a patient who has been cared for by a previous student, and that full-circle moment has brought her tremendous joy.

She’s also appreciated watching students grow during their time here. She says, “It’s nice to see students progress from early in the program to their last year. They mature in their critical thinking skills and their ability to broaden their vision, which is often narrow at first, but then it expands as they become able to handle multiple factors.”

Marisa’s next stop is Tennessee. Her husband is a pastor, and he’s been serving at a church there since March, so Marisa looks forward to joining him, as they build a house together and make plans for the next stage of their life.

She admits with a smile, “I’m looking forward most to sleeping.” Also an accomplished pianist, Marisa says she’ll play music, travel, and enjoy having time to take care of her health, family, and dogs. She says, “I’m going to miss the people here. We’ve become a family.”

Jeanie Stivers, associate professor in Nursing has worked at Kettering College since 2011, teaching various courses in the program from Wellness to Family Health to Foundations and Medical-Surgical. As her career has progressed, she has been teaching solely in the RN-BSN track online, most recently teaching courses devoted to nursing leadership.

Jeanie’s fulfilling career has included working in multiple areas of nursing over the past 30+ years. She has appreciated that her career “has matched her curiosity of trying new things” as she moved between various experiences in the field.

She says she talks about this aspect often in her online courses with her students. She says, “Some students have the mindset of wanting to focus on one aspect of nursing for their entire careers and others are curious about a few different things.” Jeanie says she appreciates that nursing offers a lucrative career to either personality type.

During her time here, she has been grateful that Kettering College works to reach the whole student. She says, “We not only emphasize excellence in academic achievement and wanting our students to be their best by teaching evidence-based practices, but we also have a strong focus on that spiritual component, which is something I feel very passionately about…and being able to speak freely about that to students has been a real blessing. There aren’t many colleges that allow that.”

As she moves into retirement, it is no surprise that she’ll miss experiencing students growing and learning, but she’ll also miss collaborating with instructors. She says, “Every person I’ve encountered here has a heart for students. We are constantly reviewing our program and looking for ways to improve it, and I appreciate that.”

Jeanie looks forward to being more involved in church activities, volunteer work, travel, and seeing her daughter in Colorado more. Since she has most often worked remotely, she hasn’t had daily face-to-face interaction with colleagues, but she’ll miss coming around campus. She says, “It’s a good place to be.”


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