James Madison University

Startsman Receives Nursing Student of the Year Award

By: Lauren Mitchell
Posted: February 4, 2016

Senior nursing student, Talia Startsman, has been named Nursing Student of the Year by the March of Dimes.  Her hard work and excellence were recognized at the 2015 Virginia Nurse of the Year Gala. The event, held in November, recognized and honored several distinguished nurses for their contributions to the field.  Consideration for the award is open to all nursing students in the state of Virginia, and a JMU student been honored for three consecutive years now.

PHOTO: March of Dimes Award

Startsman has been dedicated to the nursing program since her acceptance in the fall of 2013. She is one of the student leaders of Pi Mu - the local chapter of the national nursing honor society, Sigma Theta Tau.  She is also the Vice President of the Student Nursing Association and works closely with the Nursing Student Advisory Council as a student representative. She has been involved in a multitude of projects around the local community including “Caring for the Caregiver” in which she worked with other students to innovate ways technology could be used to improve caregiving practices. She also worked on the “Meaning in Movement” project, which is a collaborative dance workshop for stroke survivors.

“I’m still in awe that I am the student who won. This award shines a positive light on the nursing department at JMU and draws attention to the wonderful faculty and students in it,” Startsman explained. Although Startsman acknowledges that one’s grades, accolades and extracurricular activities are important for success, she does not believe those factors fully define her. She feels that her intentions are what set her apart and ultimately led to her receiving this prestigious award. “I intend to be a leader. I intend to inspire others, to encourage them to dive within themselves and find a deeper strength than they’ve ever known,” she explains. Startsman remains humble despite all of her accomplishments. She feels honored to be a part of such a noble profession that is so open to advancement. She gives credit to her professor, Christina Lam, who nominated [Startsman] for this award. She also thanks her classmates who continue to challenge and motivate her. “We succeed and rise together,” Startsman says.

When she is not studying or participating in one of her many nursing-related organizations, Startsman works as a patient care technician in an intensive care unit. In the future, she hopes to continue her work in the ICU because she enjoys the intricacies of monitoring complex diseases and helping others navigate the blend of emotions that accompany being admitted to the ICU. Eventually, she hopes to become a Nurse Anesthetist.

Startsman believes that her success would not be possible without the love and support of those around her. She encourages everyone to pursue things they’re passionate about and to discover their light within. “The world is so open and we can do whatever we set our hearts and minds to. I challenge you to follow whatever excites your spirit and in turn, you will unveil your gifts to give to the world.”