Whitney Tasker is a junior in the Bachelor of Science School of Nursing program on the Keyser campus and is the most recent Catamounts Climb Higher award recipient at West Virginia University Potomac State College. Interim Campus
President Chris Gilmer (right) and Dean of Student Experience Lucas Taylor
presented the award.
“When I was looking for a college, Potomac State was always my first choice – it’s right here in my hometown and I love the smaller class settings. When I learned they were offering a four-year nursing degree, I was ecstatic and knew I had to apply,” Tasker said.
Tasker is a junior in the Bachelor of Science School of Nursing program on the Keyser campus and is the most recent Catamounts Climb Higher award recipient at West Virginia University Potomac State College.
“I’ve wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. When I learned that I had been accepted into the nursing program, it was really special and validating for me because I worked so hard to get to that point,” she added.
In addition to serving as a member of the Student Nurses Association, Tasker volunteers monthly at the Mineral County Technical Center assisting with testing for Certified Nursing Assistants. “This is a great learning experience and it feels good to help out,” said Tasker, who was also a student at the MCTC while in high school.
According to April Shapiro, department chair for the WVU Keyser BSN program, Tasker exemplifies resilience to the max. “When Whitney entered her sophomore year of nursing school in fall of 2021, her father was very sick with cancer. He passed away when she was finishing her sophomore year (May 2022), so her entire sophomore year was nursing school by day and studying and being with her dad by night. Even though her father was very sick and fighting for his life, she did not miss time in school, stayed focused on her studies, and kept a smile on her face and a positive disposition,” Shapiro said.
“There were so many moments when I have been overwhelmed by all the homework, tests and personal pain that it felt like I couldn’t do it all,” Tasker said. “My dad was one of my biggest supporters and when he unexpectedly passed away it was really challenging to find the strength to keep going. He never failed to tell me how proud he was of me and he continues to be my motivation to do my best every day.”
Tasker also credits the never-ending love and support she receives from family, friends and professors in the nursing department with helping her achieve her goals. “I am so blessed to have them all. I can’t thank everyone in the nursing program enough for their guidance.”
Climb Higher recipients are recognized for their ability to bounce back despite encountering obstacles, for overcoming challenges and for staying the course. Recipients are also recognized for their outstanding work ethic, kindness and a positive attitude. And while this award is not based on GPA, the recipient must be in good academic standing.
“Even through her darkest hours, Whitney lived the values of the Climb Higher initiative - kindness, positivity, and a strong work ethic - always eager to volunteer and help others on campus and in our community, even while going through her own struggles. She is a wonderful example to us all,” Shapiro said.
Tasker encourages other students to keep their eye on the prize and stick to their dreams because, “every day that you’re trying you’re one step closer to achieving your dreams and the difficult days are only a part of the journey.”