Parker Named Gordon State's Outstanding Scholar


Jennifer Parker has been named the Gordon State College Outstanding Scholar for the 2013-14 academic year.

Parker, an emergency room nurse at Southern Regional Hospital in Riverdale, graduated last December with an associate degree in nursing. She will begin work toward her bachelor's degree in nursing in June.

There have been a few bumps along the road to her dream job. She did not complete high school but later earned a GED. Her first choice of a career in accounting didn't work out because the business closed, her second office job ended for the same reason.

"I get bored easily," she said. "And one day I noticed how busy everyone was in a doctor's office - from the front desk, to the medical assistants and nurses working with patients."

So she went back to school to become an LPN, licensed practical nurse.

"It was a great job, but I was limited in what I could do and I wanted to do more, so I entered the nursing program at Gordon," she said. "It was a tough two years, but so worth it. Now, here I am again, wanting to do more and looking at two more years of school."

She eventually wants to be a nurse practitioner and work with acute care patients.

Parker said she could not have made it were it not for the support of her mother, Pam Thrasher, her stepfather Maen Yassine and her husband, Nathan. She said everyone went out of their way to help her succeed and have pledged to do the same as she pursues her BSN.

"My husband works away so I moved back in to my mother's house. Maen gave up his home office space for me to turn into a study room - I need a lot of room when I study."

But those who know Parker say it is her determination that helped her succeed.

"Jennifer took the leadership role to the next level in her position as President of the Gordon State College Association of Nursing Students," said Samantha Bishop, associated professor nursing. "As president, she played an active role in all the events that GCANS participated in, such as blood drives, tornado relief efforts, the annual GANS convention, Empty Stocking Fund and Operation Christmas Child. She was actively involved with the campus and community in the role of volunteer at flu vaccine clinics, hearing and vision screenings, health fairs, and HIV screenings in conjunction with the Lamar County Health Department. She has shown extreme leadership and has great potential as a future leader."