Mersades Reina Riley

Mersades Reina-Riley

Persistence Pays Off

Mersades Reina-Riley is a 21-year-old student at Ivy Tech Community College who is currently working on her Associate’s in Nursing degree. She has been at Ivy Tech since fall of 2018, and she hopes to graduate in 2024. Choosing to get a nursing degree came naturally for Mersades as she is a natural helper and feels her soul come to life when she gets to help others. In fact, she has quite a bit of experience in the medical world already, working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) since graduating from high school.

Mersades grew up here in Fort Wayne. She has two older siblings, one which is thirty-five years old and the other which is thirty-four years old. Since there is such a huge age gap between her and her siblings, Mersades was raised as an only child. Her mom worked in a factory and her dad held a variety of roles such as working in a hospital and in a factory. Unfortunately, her parents got divorced when she was eight, which set young Mersades off on a path of instability. “It has been really challenging from my parents not being together and then them not being supportive through my teenage years. I kind of had to fend for myself. A few times I had to work and have school at the same time, so it was just challenging.” Since her life has been marked by struggle, she realized early on that she had to make different choices in her life to set her on a different path. Mersades is working hard both in school and life so she can build a better life for herself and her future family.

Mersades participated in the Persistence Pays Off (PPO) program last year. While she was in the program, she was working with her case manager on time management, budgeting, and mental health coping strategies. Before she entered the program, she was struggling quite a bit in school. She was taking a full-time course load as well as working full-time. Thanks to the staff in the TRIO office and her PPO case manager, she was able to transition taking her courses part-time. She highly recommends people to use the PPO program should they need it and says, “the support is really helpful for my mental health, school, and other things.”

Mersades hopes to grow in her medical career in the future. When asked about her dreams she says, “I might go back to become a Physician’s Assistant (PA). I feel like I want to be a nurse for a few years first though and then eventually go back for my PA. I want to do travel nursing or work with little kids.” We wish Mersades the best of luck on her path to create a better life for herself and to grow in the medical profession.