Essence Edmonds Becomes First Graduate from Trumbull's Building Black Leaders Program

When Essence Edmonds took the Kent State Trumbull Commencement stage Friday night as the keynote student speaker, she shared with the Class of 2023 how she took full advantage of her time at Kent State Trumbull while earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.  

Besides her rigorous studies, Edmonds, a 2017 Warren G. Harding High School graduate, is the first student from the campus' Building Black Leaders (BBL) program to graduate. She also participated on the cross-country team, as well the Student Nurses Association and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 

"I joined Building Black Leaders before COVID when I saw an email from Tiffany Tyree, assistant director of Career Services and BBL coordinator," Edmonds said. "Over the next few years, I went to her for motivation and inspiration. I appreciated being in a program where someone could relate to me and what I was dealing with."

Edmonds was born in Cleveland and moved to Warren when she was 6 years old. She was interested in the medical field and, initially, considered being a doctor before deciding nursing is a great way to start in the medical field and still have options later.

"When I started looking at colleges, I knew Kent State Trumbull was in right here in my backyard," she said. "I considered other schools and living on campus. When I realized the cost, I explored what Kent State Trumbull had to offer and made my choice."

She soon appreciated the quick drive to campus and the support system the campus offers. 

"I leaned on the campus' Learning Center for some of my early prerequisites, especially advanced math," she said with a smile. "It's difficult to go through this without support."

Those support systems included Building Black Leaders and Tyree. 

"When I first met Essence, I knew there was something special about her, and I can recall numerous times when we sat in my office just giggling, talking about anything and everything, and just trying to connect and make sure she's good," Tyree said. "She is so passionate and dedicated to achieving her goals."

In her speech, Edmonds also thanked God; her mother Yolanda and sister Emari; Kent State Trumbull's cross-country coach, Bill Hess;  and her nursing professors who kept the fire burning and who she said encouraged her success.

Edmonds recently accepted a full-time position on the med-surg unit at Mercy Health Warren.  She plans to work, grow in her craft and, eventually, obtain a Master of Science in Nursing degree.

She concluded her speech with: "To the Class of 2023, we did it! This is real, and you are not dreaming. Congratulations!"

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POSTED: Monday, May 15, 2023 12:23 PM
Updated: Monday, May 15, 2023 05:09 PM