Hometown: Central Falls, RI
Bintou Camara decided to become a nurse when she discovered an interest in science as a teenager at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island. But as one of five children from a working-class family, she knew that paying for college would be a challenge. But it was a challenge she was determined to meet — through her own hard work and with support from URI’s Talent Development Program, the College of Nursing’s Pathways to Nursing Program (which gives students from underserved populations the resources and flexibility to earn their degrees over five years) and scholarships from the URI Foundation. She also held a work-study job at the College during the school year and became a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) one summer so that she could get patient-care experience while earning money for school. “I wanted to be able to apply what I learned in the real world,” said Camara, whose mom is a CNA. Today, Camara works at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., where she was accepted to the hospital’s one-year residency program for new nurses. “I can’t wait to be immersed in the nursing culture,” she said, shortly before leaving for D.C. to launch her career. “My goal was to be sure I leave college with a position in my field that provided guidance until I am ready to be 100 percent autonomous,” she said. And Camara has done just that.