Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Those words, by the late Nelson Mandela are how Alida Rivera de Davis describes her motivation for enrolling in the M.S. Nursing Education program at SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

“Investing in my academic future will provide me with the necessary tools to impact public health by decreasing health disparities and increasing health literacy,” she says. “The nursing education program at SUNY Poly will allow me to share my passion for public health and nursing to our future nurses.”BetsyAndAlida5275

Currently enrolled in a culminating internship course, Alida is finding herself on the other side of the classroom, gaining a bird’s eye view of teaching – through an online course with SUNY Poly’s Dr. Elizabeth Campbell, instructing senior level clinical nursing students with Jessica Eldred FNP at St. Elizabeth College of Nursing, and collaborating with Sara Manning of Utica College as a simulation lab coordinator.

“The internship class is really allowing me to apply all my knowledge gained over the course of the nursing education program – a program that’s prepared me very well for a role in academia.”

Her education gained on both sides of the classroom only add to the skills she’s honed in her time within the SUNY Poly nursing education program, and enhance her role as a public health nurse.

“As the face of America is changing, we need to focus on providing quality healthcare to meet the complex health demands of our multicultural society,” she says. “Learning about our patient’s cultural beliefs, healthcare practices and factors that influence their decision making will assist in identifying and addressing their health literacy needs.”

And with that awareness comes the development of new teaching strategies that will provide the tools necessary for acquiring new health literacy skills, knowledge that Alida calls vital for empowering patients to take on active roles in their health care throughout all their lives.

“That type of knowledge will lead to the gift of living a healthy life.”

Though she prepares to graduate in May 2016, she considers her education far from over, pursuing a continued devotion to learning with doctoral studies along with teaching and continued work at the Oneida County Health Department.

“The nursing education program at SUNY Poly encourages lifelong learning and the importance of pursuing a doctorate degree. Honestly, when I first applied to this program I didn’t look beyond two years. However, after completing my first year, I decided after coming this far to see where it takes me.”