Nursing is the passion of this Army veteran

Meredith Herndon
November 15, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jennifer Wissemann was not new to online learning when she enrolled at Penn State World Campus, but the support the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) student said she received as an Army veteran and military spouse was something special.

“Military families are really prominent within the World Campus community, so there's a lot of support,” said Wissemann.

Wissemann’s father was an Air Force pilot, so joining the military through an Army ROTC undergraduate scholarship was a no-brainer, jumpstarting her almost 10-year-long career as an Army Nurse Corps Officer.

Her time with the Army began just eight days after the 9/11 attacks and took her to Kuwait and Iraq as part of the 86 Combat Support Hospital, the first hospital in the area. It was also there that Wissemann met her husband, Michael.

During her military career, Wissemann was able to pursue her passion as a labor and delivery nurse, taking her from Hawaii to Germany and then Texas for competitive training courses and special NICU assignments.

“There are other schools where you can get this degree, but they didn’t do it for me. They didn’t have the same high quality that I was looking for.

— Jennifer Wissemann, Penn State World Campus student and U.S. Army veteran

In 2011, Wisseman decided to leave the Army, but she didn’t leave her passion. She enrolled in a master’s of nursing program that was partially online. Halfway through the program the family moved from Kansas to New Mexico so Wissemann had to work hard to plan ahead and complete the program.

“When you know that you're going to be moving as a military spouse, you have to be very proactive,” she said. “It takes a lot of planning.”

When Wissemann began considering where to earn her doctorate degree, she knew she needed an online program. Wissemann’s husband is a Penn State alumnus and Wissemann was drawn to the University’s reputation, so when she was accepted into World Campus, her decision to enroll was easy.

“There are other schools where you can get this degree, but they didn’t do it for me,” said Wissemann. “They didn’t have the same high quality that I was looking for.

“Seeing how friendly Penn State is to the military and military spouses was also a big part of my decision,” said Wissemann, recounting how easily she was able to claim her VA benefits, allowing her to graduate debt free.

During her time as an online learner, Wissemann has taken full advantage of the opportunities provided through World Campus by serving on the World Campus Advisory Board and as a peer mentor, connecting her with other military families.

“World Campus has more opportunities than students know about,” said Wissemann. “World Campus is always trying to help with student engagement, activities and support which I think is amazing.”

Wissemann expects to graduate in the spring 2020 semester as one of the students in the full-time, two-year track of the DNP program. She is busy with her full course load and raising her three children, ages 6, 10 and 13, with the help of her husband, who is pursuing his second master’s degree.

“I like to tell people, everybody in our house has homework every day,” said Wissemann.

Wissemann is currently working on her DNP project, a quality improvement plan that develops screening tools for women who are at risk for postpartum hemorrhages, incorporating her passion and vast experience as a labor and delivery nurse.

She said her advisers — Kelly Wolgast, Michael Evans and Lorah Dorn — have been her cheerleaders during her time at World Campus.

Wherever she and her family go, Wissemann said she is confident that her Penn State doctorate degree will provide a wide range of opportunities in various career paths.

“It will open more doors for me,” said Wissemann. “There’s a lot of diversity with a doctorate of nursing practice degree, and I like that I have skills that can translate to a lot of different organizations.”

Visit the Penn State World Campus website for information about resources for military and veteran students.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 12, 2021