A graduate’s calling to heal leads to a career in nursing

Lorenzo Otero is one of five graduating seniors university-wide selected as exceptional students ahead of December Commencement

Determined, motivated, and focused. Those are the characteristics that describe Lorenzo Otero, a graduating senior majoring in nursing at the University of South Carolina Aiken.

With December commencement less than two months away, Otero is ready for what his nursing career has to offer as soon as he walks across the stage on Thursday, Dec. 14. He says his long-term plans are to go to CRNA school in hopes of becoming a Nurse Anesthetist.

With any success story, there's always a beginning, and for Otero, his journey in nursing started with his grandparents. "Both my grandmother and great-grandmother worked in the medical field, so I was just constantly exposed to it," he said. "It was a combination of a passion for knowledge and constant development with a desire to help people." That passion and drive would later fuel Otero's decision to choose the best institution that would give him the tools to succeed in the healthcare setting.

After taking a tour of USC Aiken's campus in 2019, he knew it was the school for him. "It was really one of those things where you didn't realize what was here until you came to the school and saw it." Otero added he felt like he was a part of a community on campus, unlike big university where you're just a number. Even though Otero was a commuter all throughout his four years, that didn't stop him from getting involved on campus. During the fall of 2019, he joined a Fraternity, and the Student Government Association, and even helped in the Student Life office.

He even credits the Nursing program with helping to prepare him for the opportunities he's been offered. "The staff that is running the program has done everything that they can do to make sure connections are not hard to make," he explained. "I feel like the professors go above and beyond. I've never had a professor tell me that they couldn't figure out something or not have any advice." Otero says overall he feels more prepared than ever thanks to the School of Nursing.

If it's any advice Otero has for any future Pacers it's, to give yourself grace. "There have been many times I've done horrible on X,Y, and Z but then I stop and think about the many things I've accomplished up to this point." He says what he'll miss most about USC Aiken is his friends and the culture at the school.

USC Aiken will hold its December Commencement at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, in the university's Convocation Center.

For more information, contact Angela Saxon, Angela.saxon@usca.edu