Meet Gianna Torgersen: Nursing Major and Leadership Scholarship Winner
Long Island, New York
1. How did you first hear about DeSales?
One of my friends from high school, her older brother goes here, and she knew that they have a good nursing program. She said, "It seems like a very Gianna-type school." I did some research and liked it. The summer going into senior year, I visited campus. As soon as I stepped onto campus, I thought, “Okay, I want to go here. This is where I’m going to go.” And here I am.
DeSales feels just like my high school, which is a very small, all-girls Catholic high school. My classes were very small, all the faculty and staff knew your name, and everyone held doors open for each other. When I came to this campus, it was the exact same thing, just with guys. I felt at home and at peace, and I thought I could really see myself here.
2. Describe what your essay was about.
My essay was about why I wanted to be a nurse. I was adopted from China. I was actually left in a cardboard box on the doorstep of an orphanage. My birth mother chose life, so I’m a big pro-life advocate, too. I realized that I want to help other babies have a chance to live and succeed in their lives, so I wanted to find an occupation that would help young children. I thought the perfect job for that would be a NICU nurse.
Also, I’ve always had a passion for helping and community service. Just being a kind, compassionate friend to other people. I thought what better way to get paid and do that for the rest of my life than being a nurse.
3. Tell us about orientation and the first-year experience here.
I absolutely loved my first-year experience here and orientation. Speaking to a lot of my friends from home—they’re west coast, east coast, down south, they’re everywhere—they were all so confused. They didn’t know where their classes were, they didn’t know how to work Blackboard. I thought, “I go to DeSales; I can’t relate to that.”
During the pre-orientation program, we did a scavenger hunt around campus. We did a similar scavenger hunt with our pod mentor, which helped so much with all my classes—knowing where everything was and asking any questions. I love the way that we organize the different pods because you not only have your pod mentor, who’s in the same major as you so you can ask any major-related questions, but then you also have your captain who can guide you in all different ways.
Leading up to college, you’re very nervous. But this really helps ease your nerves not only with feeling more comfortable and prepared for your classes, but also feeling more comfortable and situated with your school.
4. Which clubs/activities are you involved in here on campus?
I’m in women’s club rugby, which is a lot of fun and the girls are really great. I’m also in the pro-life club, Young Americans for Freedom, and I participated in Special Olympics as part of the welcoming team, holding signs and cheering for the athletes. I’m also in the Student Nurses Association, and I’m waiting to be inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success.
5. Advice for future Leadership Scholarship applicants?
Just be yourself. Don’t try to fake what you did or who you are. Just like Saint Francis de Sales says: Be who you are and be that well. That was one of the first things I noticed when I came onto campus: they want you to be yourself and share your experience and how it impacted you.
The Leadership Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship offered to six students who have shown outstanding leadership in their high school careers and who plan to continue to develop those skills at DeSales. The deadline to apply is Thursday, December 1, 2022.