As a junior in high school, Jared McDaniel had a knack for science and knew he wanted to choose a major in the medical field, but it wasn’t until a knee injury landed him in the hospital that he discovered the exact career path he would pursue.

McDaniel, 18, now a freshman at CUAA, was playing in a basketball game that led to overtime when he went up for a layup on a fast break and was undercut by a defender from the opposing team, causing an injury to his knee. The injury, while devastating at the time for the rising young athlete, gave him a fortuitous glimpse at his future career.

"My emergency room nurse was a younger guy in his 20s,” said McDaniel, from Eaton Rapids. “He talked to me about why he loved being a nurse and from then on I knew that’s what I wanted to do."

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McDaniel said the nurse shared about the hands-on nature of his profession and the community of people that surrounded him – both appealing aspects to McDaniel.

Now, some three years later, the CUAA freshman basketball stand-out will begin his official nursing education. He’ll join the first-ever crop of CUAA School of Nursing students, who will begin classes in the fall of 2016.
The Michigan State Board of Nursing approved CUAA’s new School of Nursing in November of 2015. The nursing school will be housed in CUAA’s newly acquired “North Building,” an 86,000-square-foot building located off of Plymouth Road in northeast Ann Arbor. The building was purchased from its former occupant the Cooley Law School.

“We’re thrilled to offer yet another quality educational program at CUAA,” said Curt Gielow, campus chief executive. “We aim to cultivate and train nurses with not only the academic knowledge and skills necessary for the job, but the heart for the profession as well.”

As a student athlete, McDaniel is no stranger to hard work and is eager to take on the challenge of balancing a rigorous academic schedule with the demands of a Division II basketball program.

In fact, it was the opportunity to play ball at the university level that initially drew McDaniel to Concordia.

McDaniel first visited the CUAA campus the summer preceding his senior year of high school for a team basketball camp, hosted by Concordia men’s head coach Ricky Yahn. It was at that time that McDaniel learned more about CUAA and followed up with an official visit.

“Everyone I met on my campus visits was so kind. I felt comfortable from the start,” said McDaniel. “I knew CUAA was the right fit for me, so when I heard they hoped to begin a School of Nursing in the next couple of years, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it.”

McDaniel will be joined in the fall by both current CUAA students and transfer students who have achieved the necessary pre-requisites to be a part of CUAA’s first School of Nursing cohort. Incoming freshman declaring pre-nursing will be a part of CUAA’s second School of Nursing cohort in fall of 2017, after completing a year of pre-requisite courses.

McDaniel said he’s eager to have his experience underway.

“I have four science classes this semester that will prepare me for nursing school next fall,” he said. “I just want to get going already!”

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