Camille Cowan: Pioneer

Nursing student Camille Cowan is a pioneer at Florida College and at home. At age 43, the first generation college student, wife and mother is inspiring students and faculty alike to follow their dreams.

Originally from Miami, Camille attended community college following high school, earning her Associates of Arts. Camille continued her education at a nearby university but was soon forced to trade collegiate life for the workforce, still dreaming of becoming a nurse one day. In 2007 she relocated to Alabama and began the search for nursing schools. After graduating as an LPN in 2009, Camille’s plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree were again put on hold, this time by marriage and a baby.

“I always wanted to go back, and prayed about it when we moved back to Florida,” she said. “I drove by FC one day coming home from work and saw the nursing program sign, and wondered what I needed to do to qualify,” said Camille.

After multiple prayers, calls and emails, Camille connected with nursing recruiter Abigail Orf, who helped her complete transcript and financial aid requests.

“My transcripts came in the day before the last day to add and drop classes, so I was able to register and my financial aid cleared just in time,” said Camille, who expects to graduate in 2025.

Juggling a 16-hour course load, parenthood and full-time employment has been a challenge, but Camille is grateful for the flexibility and kindness found at Florida College.

“I love the faculty, who reach out if they see you struggling and are always willing to help with anything,” she said. “The first time I was in nursing school I competed with a lot of students, and teachers didn’t care if you passed or failed. I notice a difference at FC, because faculty are more personable when it comes to your needs. They’re also faith-based, so I have a lot of teachers who say they’re praying for me. I didn’t have that previously and it makes a world of difference when someone’s praying and rooting for you.”

Affectionately called “Miss Camille” by her nursing program cohort, the mother of two said her unique position as a nontraditional student has been an adjustment, but it’s one she’s embracing.

“I know I’m not supposed to fit in,” she said. “This is where God has called me to be, so I’m going to be that difference.”

She’s also grateful for the generous donors who participate in Florida College’s Adopt-a-Student Program.

“A lot of people don’t get to see the fruit of their giving, but if I didn’t get any scholarships I probably wouldn’t be able to attend FC,” she said. “My scholarship provided the exact gap I was missing financially, and it would’ve been a real struggle to be here without it.”

To help enrich the lives of more students like Camille, consider partnering with Florida College during our Week of Giving, May 8-12.