You build a strong foundation for our community
Giving to the Nicolet College Foundation is giving to your friends and family; to the EMTs and firefighters in our community; to your trusted auto mechanic and nurse attendant. It's investing in the local economy by giving to future entrepreneurs, educators, and healthcare workers. Nicolet College's services go beyond the classroom; they effect all of us.
Strong support from the Foundation makes it all possible with strong support from you.
"I am thrilled to step up into a career where I am really helping others."
“I think my desire to be a nurse was always with me, I just realized it over time,” Kelly Hofstetter Helgeson reflects. She remembers her grandmother sharing stories about being a nurse, saying, “I always admired her and wanted to make a similar mark on the world and on people.” Kelly also helped take care of her grandfather who had Alzheimer’s disease.
Kelly’s first term at Nicolet College was 20 years ago, right after she graduated from Rhinelander High School. “Nicolet was the only school I even considered,” Kelly recalls. She wanted to be a teacher and enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program. Kelly ended up moving to Washington, D.C., where she worked as a nanny for one year.
She came back to Rhinelander, and this time enrolled in Nicolet College’s Cosmetology program. She used her technical diploma to start a new career, but soon started working for a dermatologist, where she worked as a dermatology technician for 12 years. It was during this time she started to become interested in health care. Kelly decided to pursue her nursing degree and once again turned to Nicolet College, but she couldn’t do it alone.
Nicolet College Foundation donors helped Kelly balance school, work, and her family. “Scholarships helped me reach my goals in so many ways. I relied on my husband to financially support our household because my part-time paychecks did not go very far, and I was unable to save money for the future,” she explains.
In April of 2020, Kelly graduated with her associate’s degree in nursing at Nicolet College. Completing her degree during a pandemic was not ideal, and she goes on to say, “Nicolet has tailored their program to produce the safest, most high-quality nurses possible, so to deviate from the carefully thought-out program was not the dream. However, there was a silver lining to it. The pandemic enabled us to get a head start on the critical thinking and nursing skills we had been introduced to and slowly beginning to practice while in school. This pandemic gave us the opportunity to jump into the field of medicine even before graduating, instantly immersing us in healthcare and demonstrating the need for safety, ethics, and quality in nursing.”
She began her nursing career this summer and is a psychiatric nurse at the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison. “I am thrilled to step up into a career where I am really helping others. The field of mental health is constantly evolving, and I am so proud to have earned my nursing degree and to practice nursing in this specialty. I feel grateful, proud, and fulfilled daily,” Kelly says.
Kelly already started working toward her bachelor’s degree in nursing while she was at Nicolet. As she continues her education while she works, her career goals are big. Just a few goals she would like to accomplish include becoming a traveling nurse and maybe even joining Doctors Without Borders. We can’t wait to see what this Nicolet College alum does next!
More than 75%
of Nicolet graduates are employed in our district.
Make the investment in your community.