BCC Student Selected for Commonwealth’s '29 Who Shine' Program
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Danielle Harriott, a nursing student at Berkshire Community College (BCC) and a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) on the surgical floor at Berkshire Medical Center, has been selected as BCC's honoree for the Commonwealth's 29 Who Shine program.
She will be honored on Thursday, May 13 at 2 pm by Governor Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education during a YouTube livestream event.
Launched by the Commonwealth in 2011, 29 Who Shine recognizes 29 outstanding public college and university graduates. Each honoree shows exceptional promise as a future leader and has a strong record of academic achievement and civic engagement.
Harriott was "shocked and surprised" to win the award.
"It's not something I'm used to," she said.
But Amanda Davis, an adjunct nursing faculty member at BCC who mentors Danielle, said it was an easy choice to nominate her.
"Danielle is a great student who has a wonderful way of communicating with her patients. I had her in my LPN clinical group, and she always came ready and prepared. I know she'll be a great nurse," Davis said.
Acknowledging that she didn't follow a typical educational path, Danielle decided to go back to school in 2010, with three children under the age of three — a daughter and twin boys. She took pre-requisite classes at Capital Community College in Hartford, Conn. and was accepted into the nursing program, where she completed three semesters before deciding to work full-time as a CNA.
Eventually moving to Massachusetts, Danielle began working at Laurel Lake nursing home (now Lee HealthCare) and at Berkshire Medical Center. There, colleagues encouraged her to continue her education.
"I finally took the leap and chose BCC, and I'm glad I did," Danielle said.
Now nearly eight months into a ten-month Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program at BCC, she plans to apply to the college's bridge program (transitioning from an LPN to an Associate Degree in Nursing), but she is still working to figure out her career goals.
"I haven't found my exact niche yet, but I know I want to be working with people hands on," she said, adding that she's considering working in at-home care or hospice.
"Being a good nurse is not just meds and paperwork," she said. "You're caring for a human. You have to know how to do that before anything else."