WVU School of Nursing Bridgeport Campus hosts pledge ceremony for first cohort of students

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — The West Virginia University School of Nursing Bridgeport Campus hosted its first pledge ceremony on Feb. 15, officially welcoming the first cohort of 17 students into the study of nursing.

Located at WVU Medicine United Hospital Center, the Bridgeport Campus offers the BS/BA to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, which is an 18-month accelerated pathway into nursing for current degree holders.

The nursing pledge is a formal commitment to demonstrate and respect the moral principles of the nursing profession. Specifically, the WVU School of Nursing Pledge speaks to integrity, compassion, ethics, patient advocacy and lifelong learning.

Jonathan Brager, one of the students in the first Bridgeport Campus cohort. 

“To me, the pledge ceremony is our rite of passage into the nursing community,” said Jonathan Brager. “We take our oaths to do no harm and swear to do what is in our patients’ best interest above our own.”

Brager is no stranger to the medical field, as he has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in exercise physiology. For the past seven years, he has worked as an exercise physiologist in cardiac rehab.

“For me, nursing school is providing me the additional knowledge and skill set to help provide for my family and help those in need of our nursing abilities,” Brager said. His long-term goal is to obtain his Master of Science in Nursing and become a nurse practitioner.

Courtney-Dee Kovar, one of the students in the first Bridgeport Campus cohort.

For Courtney-Dee Kovar, the pledge ceremony represents becoming “an advocate, a comforting presence and a servant for those in need.” She said she chose nursing because of the importance she places on human connection and relationships.

“Nursing is an opportunity for me to help people at their most vulnerable states and to provide them the comfort and assistance needed to ensure their wellness, both physically and mentally,” she said. Kovar hopes to stay local after graduation to work as a nurse at UHC or a family practice.

Miguel Carunungan, one of the students in the first Bridgeport Campus cohort.

Many fast-track students come to the program in a nontraditional path, like Miguel Carunungan. While Carunungan wasn’t previously ready for the challenges of nursing school, his life and educational experiences over the past decade have prepared him for success.

“The pledge ceremony, to me, represents committing myself to realizing a dream that I thought I had previously thought I wasn't cut out for, but with a whole new outlook and determination,” he said. “I started my journey in nursing nearly 10 years ago in 2014. I left nursing after my freshman year to join the military because I wasn't doing well in my classes. Since then, I have had many jobs, careers and majors.”

In the U.S. Army, Carunungan served as a combat medic and he volunteered in emergency medical service work in the following years, which reignited his passion for medicine. After graduation, he hopes to gain additional experience in the emergency medicine field and eventually become a flight nurse.

“As a veteran, nontraditional student, the thing that I love most about the fast-track cohort here at the Bridgeport Campus is that — for the first time and unlike my first bachelor's degree — I don't feel like the odd duck out. Many of my classmates share similar life experiences, have families and are of a similar age.”

Bridgeport Campus Chair Dr. Veronica Gallo

Dr. Veronica Gallo, Bridgeport Campus Chair, aspires for the Bridgeport fast-track program to be prospective students’ first choice when selecting a nursing school.

“Our curriculum is tried and tested at the Morgantown Campus, as shown by the recent 100% first-time NCLEX pass rate,” Gallo said. The NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is the exam graduates must pass to become licensed registered nurses.

Gallo added, “We have a recipe for success with this program and with our excellent first cohort of students.”

The Bridgeport Class of 2024 includes: Adam Ailes, of McMurray, PA; Courtney Brown, of Hacker Valley, WV; Courtney-Dee Kovar, of Salem, WV; Delaney Buck, of Morgantown, WV; Emily Deneen, of Ridgeley, WV; Jonathan Brager, of Clarksburg, WV; Kayla Kelly, of Harrisburg, PA; Kristen Marlowe, of Flatwoods, WV; Melanie Maroun, of West Milford, NJ; Miguel Carunungan, of Beckley, WV; Riley Bennett, of Saint Marys, WV; Roger King, of Farmington, PA; Sidney Cullers, of Petersburg, WV; Stephanie Vincent, of Fairmont, WV; Taylor Duncan, of Beckley, WV; Tyler Savage, of Morgantown, WV; and Sara Nayeem, of Morgantown, WV.


CONTACT: Wendy Holdren
Director of Communications and Marketing
WVU School of Nursing
304-581-1772; wendy.holdren@hsc.wvu.edu