Kimberlee Rudden


Kimberlee Rudden smiling while wearing a mask

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of everyone at Bay College in one way or another. For nursing major Kimberlee Rudden, the ongoing pandemic was one of the biggest reasons why she returned to Bay after graduating from the college with another major years ago.

While Kimberlee started taking nursing-related classes at Bay in 2020, she had previously attended the college nearly a decade prior.

“I actually got my associate’s back in 2013, but re-enrolled once COVID hit for my nursing degree,” she said.

In the early 2010s, she had majored in human services at Bay and went on to get a bachelor’s degree in community development from Central Michigan University.

According to Kimberlee, she had been interested in going into nursing since the birth of her daughter in 2017. However, COVID-19 and its impact on the economy played the largest role in her decision to return to Bay.

“COVID was my big push, because I got laid off from my full-time job in marketing,” she said.

Seeing this situation as an opportunity to change careers, Kimberlee started taking classes at Bay once again during the Summer 1 semester in 2020. Right now, she is involved in Bay’s certified nursing assistant program.

Kimberlee said she believes Bay’s efforts to continue operating safely during the pandemic have been successful so far.

“I appreciate all of the precautions they’re taking,” she said.

Among other changes – including the implementation of social distancing and masking requirements on campus – Bay has increased its emphasis on offering online and hybrid courses. Though she was glad the college has given students additional flexibility at this time, Kimberlee said she has preferred a traditional setting for the classes she is taking due to their emphasis on lab work.

“Having the online option is nice for some classes, but having labs in class is much better,” she said.

After she becomes a certified nursing assistant, Kimberlee is aiming to get started on a full degree in nursing. She plans to earn this degree through Bay’s LSSU Regional Center.

“The CNA’s going to give me a good foundation for learning the nursing material,” she said.

She also plans to put her newfound knowledge in the nursing field to good use soon.

“I hope to work within a healthcare setting while I’m going to school,” Kimberlee said, noting she will be able to earn clinic hours while doing this work.