Brandon and Sarah May, both nurses, dream that one day they might operate their own rural health clinic to help people who are underserved and don’t have access to care.
The couple take a major step toward that goal on Monday, when they graduate from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in the College of Nursing. Brandon, 33, originally from San Diego, will receive his DNP degree from the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care/Family Nurse Practitioner program. Sarah, 34, who is from Fresno, California, will receive her DNP degree from the Family Nurse Practitioner program.
They are among 844 graduates who will be receiving their degrees during UTHSC’s 2022 Spring Commencement Ceremonies May 9-10 in Memphis and May 18 in Knoxville. Each of UTHSC’s six colleges will hold in-person ceremonies. The graduates include 127 from the College of Dentistry, 21 from the College of Graduate Health Sciences, 258 from the College of Health Professions (including Knoxville graduates), 169 from the College of Medicine, 81 from the College of Nursing, and 188 from the College of Pharmacy. The College of Health Profession’s Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology in Knoxville will hold its commencement ceremony there.
The Mays said they started nursing school before their son, Airo, now 6, was born. They moved to Memphis to enroll in the UTHSC College of Nursing approximately three years ago. “We knew we wanted to go to graduate school before we started nursing school,” Brandon said. “We wanted to make sure we were as equipped as possible.”
Being together has made the stress of doctoral study manageable, they said. “If he understands the concepts that I’m having trouble with, he can help me understand it and vice versa,” Sarah said. “It has definitely made us stronger in our marriage and made us stronger future clinicians.”
She said UTHSC has provided an excellent clinical training experience. “We’ve been able to take care of a diverse population with different backgrounds and multiple comorbidities. It’s been a great place to learn how to care for people.”
UTHSC Chancellor Peter Buckley, MD, will be conferring degrees at each ceremony. UT System President Randy Boyd will make remarks at the ceremonies for the College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, College of Health Professions, and College of Dentistry.
The list of the ceremonies is as follows:
- May 9 at 9 a.m.– College of Nursing, Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
- May 9 at 11:30 a.m.– College of Graduate Health Sciences, the Halloran Centre
- May 9 at 4 p.m.– College of Medicine, Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
- May 10 at 9 a.m.– College of Pharmacy, Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
- May 10 at 12:30 p.m.– College of Health Professions, Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
- May 10 at 4 p.m.– College of Dentistry, Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
- May 18, 2 p.m. EDT – College of Graduate Health Sciences and Health Professions, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Student Union Auditorium