Hometown: Grand Rapids, Mich.
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
On Ferris: “Ferris has taught me numerous skills that I will be applying in the nursing world.”
Point of Pride: “I’m proud that my parents left Bosnia with two suitcases to give me and my sister a better life here in the U.S. After 14 years of living here, we have adjusted well. I am proud to be graduating with a nursing degree. In a small way, it is a payback to my parents.”
Irma Masetic is motivated by a lot of things:
“My parents, who did not go to college, my daughter and my husband. The pressure to make this second degree more applicable in the real world. The desire to have a job that offers flexibility in shifts and autonomy,” Masetic said.
She also is driven to work in a field she is passionate about.
Masetic, 27, graduated from Ferris State University this spring with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing after completing the one-year accelerated program.
“I’ve waited a few years,” she said. “But it’s been worth it.”
After graduating from Forest Hills Northern High School in Grand Rapids in 2003, Masetic attended Grand Valley State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology. However, she didn’t have the grade point average needed to get into GVSU’s nursing program.
“I was told I was never going to be a nurse,” she said.
But Masetic certainly is no stranger to adversity.
She was just 11 when her parents fled war-torn Bosnia with her and her 7-year-old sister. They lived as refugees in Germany when the war ended in 1995 before petitioning to move to the United States. They came in 1998.
“I had a normal childhood until the war,” Masetic said. “We have adapted pretty well.”
But her family’s survival of the conflict has not been easy. When her parents – both of whom have five siblings each – left Bosnia, they left the rest of their family. Now some relatives live in Canada and Germany, and many remain in Bosnia.
“It’s so far away,” she said. “It’s very expensive, but we try to visit every couple of years. My parents struggle with that.”
Her parents and sister, now a social worker, live near Masetic and her husband, Muhamed, who also is a Bosnian refugee. They married in 2007 and have a young daughter, Hanna.
“We don’t have a big family here, but what we have is pretty dear and close to heart.”
To keep connected to their heritage, Masetic and her family are active with the Bosnian Cultural Center in Grand Rapids, a non-profit organization focused on preserving Bosnian culture and identity.
“There are 10,000 Bosnians in Grand Rapids,” she said. “The Bosnian Cultural Center offers ways to maintain cultural familiarity.”
For her family’s sake, Masetic is thankful for that.
“I’m proud that my parents left Bosnia with two suitcases to give me and my sister a better life here in the U.S.,” she said. “After 14 years of living here, we have adjusted well. I am proud to be graduating with a nursing degree. In a small way, it is a payback to my parents.”
Masetic was working as a pharmacy technician at Lemmon Holton Cancer Center when she decided to pursue a nursing degree.
“I wish to work as an oncology nurse and make a difference in cancer patients’ lives,” she said.
Masetic was thankful to find the accelerated nursing program at Ferris, which came highly recommended by several pharmacists she worked with who are graduates.
“The number one thing I love about Ferris is that I was good enough,” she said. “There are still strict guidelines, but they take into account the person.
“(The program) is very intense and has a sharp learning curve. It was challenging balancing being a wife, mother and student at the same time.”
Masetic credits Ferris nursing faculty member Margaret Smith, RN-MSN, with making a positive impact on her education because “she is passionate about her job, and that is reflected in her teaching.”
Smith praised Masetic’s dedication to her craft.
“Irma is a truly genuine person with the care, compassion, knowledge and generosity essential to nursing practice,” Smith said. “As she transitions into the profession, these attributes will be an asset to all.”
This story is taken from the Spring 2012 issue of the Points of Pride newsletter, published by University Advancement and Marketing.