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/stories/images/17-MSCS.jpgsite://minnstate/stories/images/17-MSCS.jpgminnstate17-MSCS.jpg158633375375Photo of Pojo RutskeMinnesota State College Southeast

Minnesota State College Southeast

Photo of Keiko Tsuda

Pojo Rutske

Hometown: Winona, Minnesota
Graduated: 2020
Progam: Practical Nursing Diploma

Coming back to college as a non-traditional student with a family and two jobs wasn’t always easy for Practical Nursing student Pojo Rutske. Being a member of the Class of 2020 made it even more challenging. 

Just when graduation was a matter of weeks away, Spring Semester 2020 was interrupted by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Suddenly everything changed. After switching to online last spring, learning was difficult for many. 

But Pojo finished her courses and graduated with honors in May. She was selected to be the class speaker for the Winona campus Nursing Pinning Ceremony, held this year — for the first time ever — via Zoom. 

In her speech, she said, “When we all came together all those months ago each of us had our own reason for nursing. The one thing we all have in common is we enjoy taking care of others.” 

She continued, “We are graduating during a pandemic and that is how this class is — the class of changes and survival. We are the class of survivors and our nursing career will continue to challenge us, but we have already made it through so much.” 

Since graduation, Pojo passed her nursing boards in July and is now working at Sauer Healthcare in Winona as a licensed practical nurse.