Davi Prak ’17

Davi Prak long had her heart set on being a nurse, so when she graduated from high school, she applied to just one program: the University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing.

To get that far, however, required that she navigate a complex path. Her parents are Cambodian immigrants who fled their country in the 1970s when the totalitarian Khmer Rouge regime took power and waged genocide. As a child, Davi helped guide them through a strange culture.

“It was a heavy load,” she said. “My mother always said it was hard to ask me for help because she knew teenagers usually want to go out with their friends, but she appreciates that I always make time to help her and my father.”

With the recent death of her grandmother, Davi was able to call on her minor in thanatology, the study of death and dying. “I think it helped me understand how our family reacted,” she said. “If I didn’t have that knowledge, I would not have understood what everyone was going through.”

On campus, Davi focused on her academics, taking part in the University’s Pathways to Nursing program, which provides students from underserved populations with the support and resources to earn their degrees over five years. She made the most of her time, enrolling in the Honors Program and maintaining a strong grade point average.

Davi also worked at a family-run Asian restaurant in Providence, a valuable experience that allowed her to strengthen her Cambodian language skills and learn more about that nation’s culture and values.

In June she departed for Nashville to enroll in Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Nurse Residency Program, a highly competitive support and mentoring experience for new graduates.