LaToya Charise Brown, A 2012 graduate of Northampton Community College (NCC) was the winter commencement speaker, on January 25 at the Arthur L. Scott Spartan Center, Main Campus, 3835 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem Township.
Brown earned an associate degree in registered nursing from Northampton Community College, where she distinguished herself as an outstanding student and leader.
Born and raised in Queens, New York, she attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts. After graduating, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and became the mother of a daughter. In 2007, she moved to Monroe County, Pennsylvania, first working in the NCC Monroe bookstore and a short time later, enrolling as a student at NCC's Monroe Campus. Five years out of the classroom and at first unsure of herself, she steadily gained confidence, earning a 4.0 GPA and acceptance into one of NCC's most competitive programs, registered nursing.
Medicine became Brown's passion when her daughter developed a mystifying ailment. With a diagnosis elusive, Brown researched the symptoms herself and discovered that they matched a rare vitamin deficiency. A lab test confirmed her findings. Her successful quest sparked an interest in medicine, and she decided on a nursing career.
It is unsurprising that Brown chose a helping profession. Throughout her teens, she volunteered extensively with a youth performance organization, The All Stars Project. She continued her commitment to service as a student at NCC. As a member of the Leadership Class, vice president of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, president of the nursing student organization, Brown participated in the MLK Day of Service, food pantry and meal preparation, road cleanups, and a drive to benefit servicemen and servicewomen overseas.
Brown's academic accomplishments and leadership at NCC have earned her many prestigious awards. Based on scores earned in the All-Community College Academic Team, Brown won selection as a Coca-Cola gold scholar, garnering attention in USA Today. She was also chosen as a member of the Newman Civic Fellow Class, one of 160 students representing 32 states and was awarded NCC's Irvine Freshman Leadership Award and NCC Trustee Leadership Award, the top recognition given to a student at NCC.
Brown is currently working full-time as a Registered Nurse at Lehigh Valley Health Network, in a Critical Care/ Open Heart Unit. She is also continuing her education at Villanova University, where she will earn her bachelors in the science of nursing in Spring of 2015. Additionally, she is taking masters level courses toward her goal of enrolling in graduate school at University of Pennsylvania to become a nurse practitioner. At present, she serves on the practice council at work, helping to improve current issues related to patient care and the nursing role. She is also an active member of the American Association or Critical Care Nurses.