Cheyenne Atkinson, Northampton Community College (NCC) student, is one of the few people you come across who has truly overcome every obstacle that has stood before her, from before she could even remember. Cheyenne and her twin sister Sade were both born 28-weeks prematurely, which led to Cheyenne suffering a Grade 4 IVH, also called an intraventricular hemorrhage. The IVH causes bleeding in the brain and can put pressure and damage on the nerve cells, often leading to brain injury and serious health issues. With the severity of Atkinson’s IVH, her parents were told that she would most likely not be able to walk, talk, or learn properly as a result. Atkinson had a miracle recovery, and against all odds, has excelled in everything she has put her mind to since.
“It wasn’t easy. I struggled to retain information when I was younger in school. Instead of accepting the expected, I doubled down on my studies and persevered.”
As she continued her educational path, she worked hard to graduate with distinguished honors at Pocono Mountain West High School. After graduation, Atkinson attended Penn State University, and inspired by her mother and grandmother who were both nurses, she enrolled as a nursing major alongside her sister, who majored in biology. Yet, she quickly found herself feeling like a statistic instead of a student, seeking more personal and undivided attention from her classes and relationships in and out the classroom.
During her first few months at Penn State, her mother suffered a sudden stroke, and at that moment, Atkinson knew she wasn’t in the right place. Fortunately, growing up in the Mount Pocono area, Atkinson knew NCC’s Monroe campus wasn’t too far away and heard it had a great reputation. Sure enough, both she and her sister decided to transfer.
Shortly after the start of the semester at NCC, she knew she had made the right change. “Everyone at NCC truly focuses on me and my goals. NCC has tended to my needs with caring professors who want me to succeed,” she said.
Atkinson plans to apply to NCC’s nursing program and finish her nursing degree at the college with plans to be a pediatric nurse practitioner. Her main motivation stems from wanting to give back to her community and take care of as many people as she can, just as she was once cared for by a strong healthcare team.
Atkinson’s mindset has always been to reach new goals and to never give up. “It might seem hard right now, but it always gets better, even if it seems like the end of the world in the moment.” As Atkinson continues her journey she will always remember where she started and how far she has come, motivating her to do great things in her future.