By David Thompson
For one Falls Church family, commencement day at George Mason University was a doubly special occasion. On Saturday, May 17, Maria Obeid and her daughter Christina both graduated from GMU with a doctor of nursing practice degree and a bachelor of science in nursing degree, respectively.
“I felt that this was the right time for me because I learned that George Mason University started a pathway program for BSN nurses to receive their [doctorate of nursing practice] degree.” Maria said. “I was one out of 12 graduates in the program. I love being on the cutting edge of new programs. I think that’s why for the past 25 years my passion has been conducting clinical trials.”
Maria was born in Ecuador, but grew up in the United States. Before graduating high school in Falls Church, she had already decided to get a head start on her career by becoming a licensed practical nurse.
Christina grew up hearing her mother talk about her clinical research business, and later watched her father begin a second career as a nurse.
“Nursing is a wonderful career for anyone,” Maria said. “There is so much diversity. The sky is the limit with nursing; you can be a teacher, scientist, researcher, school nurse. … You can work with the young and old. The possibilities are endless.”
Christina saw the compassion her parents demonstrated through their work and decided to follow in their footsteps.
“When it was time to make a decision about what she wanted to study in college, [Christina] was very confident that it was nursing,” Maria said.
Both mother and daughter supported each other during the pursuit of their degrees by sharing the knowledge they gained and providing emotional support.
“We were so proud of each other, and I believe that it brought us even closer together.” Maria said. “Nursing school is a rigorous program, and we made it through together at two different levels. It was quite an accomplishment for us, and we were very proud to have been able to walk across the stage and receive our diplomas on the same day.”
Christina is currently a technician at a pediatric clinic. Once she passes her licensing exam she hopes to work in an emergency room or in an intensive care unit, with her long-term goal to become a flight nurse.
“Christina is young and wants a fast paced, exciting nursing career,” Maria said.
Maria hopes to continue to grow her clinical trials business and use her doctorate of nursing practice degree to work as a nurse practitioner in primary care or community health.
“We are both currently preparing to take our board certification exams so that we may begin practicing,” Maria said.