Kemeria Headshot.

Kemeria Baraso

Nursing Student Passionate About Caring for Others

Kemeria’s ambition and passion to help others are the driving force behind her aspirations to become a nurse practitioner. From an early age, Kemeria felt called to join the health care industry, that feeling only intensified throughout the pandemic.

“I want to help people,” says Kemeria. “Seeing how the pandemic has impacted people made me want to be a part of helping. That’s my purpose in life; to care for others.”

Kemeria is a recipient of the 2021 Opportunity Rising Scholarship, an award that reflects her distinguished academic accomplishments and leadership and will support her in furthering her academic career and achieving her goals.

During her high school career, Kemeria worked hard and brought her leadership skills to many different arenas. She played on both the softball and basketball teams and was a member of her school’s Latin club. She also joined the African Student Association, a student-led club that celebrates the diverse African cultures and builds leaders. Originally from Ehtiopia, Kemeria was drawn to this club and honored to serve as president her senior year.

In addition to her extracurricular activities, Kemeria found time to earn her high school diploma and associate’s degree in science by the time she graduated from Lakeview Centennial High School. Eager to jumpstart her career in the health care industry, she participated in clinical rotations, which gave her first-hand experience in the medical field learning from health care providers working in local care facilities. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, her clinicals became virtual, making an already challenging experience even more difficult. Nonetheless, Kemeria pushed through and completed her clinical rotation.

Not only is she a leader at school, but Kemeria is a leader for her younger sisters, and she takes that role seriously. “I want them to know that if they stay focused, they can accomplish anything they want,” she says. Her motivation comes, in part, from her desire to encourage her sisters to work hard and accomplish their own goals.

As a health care student, Kemeria places a great importance on health and well-being, but her concern goes deeper. At a young age, Kemeria’s father was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. Her earliest memories are visiting him at the hospital. During her sophomore year, her father passed away. “It was hard knowing that he would never see me graduate. It was something we were both looking forward to,” says Kemeria. Knowing her father was proud of her and her biggest supporter, she became even more determined to become a nurse practitioner.

This first-hand experience with health care at a young age inspired Kemeria to pursue a career in nursing. Her unique perspective gives her a level of compassion she will bring to all her future patients.

Kemeria is currently a freshman at the University of Miami, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Though she just started her college career, she already has her sights set on the next step, earning her master’s degree in nursing so she can start working in the medical field.

As an impressive academic and compassionate leader, Kemeria has not only received the Opportunity Rising Scholarship, but also a scholarship from the University of Miami, allowing her to focus on her studies instead of finances and student loans.

“I appreciate Opportunity Rising for this opportunity and this scholarship,” says Kemeria. This scholarship will help her accomplish her goals of becoming a nurse and making a positive impact on the world as well as alleviate the stress associated with covering the cost of an education.

For any students interested in applying for an Opportunity Rising scholarship, Kemeria’s advice reflects her can-do spirit, “be persistent – where there’s a will, there’s a way.”