MEET OUR GRADUATES: Jelyssa D’Lugo Pays It Forward to Future Nursing Students

Headshot of Class of 2022 graduate Julyssa D'Lugo
Rhode Island College Impact

Nursing student Jelyssa D’Lugo ‘22 knew when she transferred to RIC that she wanted to be as involved as possible on campus. She couldn’t have predicted just how much she would do.

Nursing student Jelyssa D’Lugo ‘22 knew when she transferred to RIC from Johnson and Wales that she wanted to be as involved as possible on campus. Starting college as a young, working newlywed, she hadn’t had the full campus experience. When she made the transfer she resolved this time would be different.

D’Lugo couldn’t have predicted just how much she would do during her time at RIC. 

Born and raised not far from Rhode Island College, D’Lugo always felt a strong connection to her community, volunteering with her church and helping people in her neighborhood. 

This made it natural for her to get involved helping others on campus as well. She not only joined the Student Nurse Association, she became its president. She also started the Nurses Christian Fellowship (NCF) to help student nurses incorporate their faith into their work. D’Lugo intends to continue volunteering with NCF after graduation. 

“My faith is really a huge part of my identity,” she says. “I do what I do because I want to be a better person and help people out.” 

The NCF is not the only program on campus D’Lugo started – she also founded the Student Nurse Association Mentorship Program. 

“Just trying to get into healthcare is really overwhelming,” she notes. Fortunately, when she came to RIC she befriended two upperclassmen in the nursing program who showed her the ropes. Cognizant of how helpful her peers had been, D’Lugo advocated for the creation of a mentorship program for younger students. “I want to be that person that pays it forward,” she says. “Hearing from somebody who went through it makes such a huge difference.”

D’Lugo has had two mentees since the program’s inception. “It’s been very rewarding, just getting to know them, helping them out with study tips, telling them things that I wish I would’ve known so that they can do better than me,” she says.

COVID-19 has only increased the value of mentorship. “The ones who started in 2020 or 2021, they’re not used to campus,” says D’Lugo. 

With that in mind D’Lugo created an event called “Surviving Nursing School," in collaboration with the Multicultural Student Nurses Association, to help these new students. 

“They don’t know where everything is, so we tried to map that out from our personal experiences, how resources are accessed and what it’s like,” she explains. “It’s difficult to reach students, but we’ve been doing our best.”

For her service at RIC, D’Lugo recently received one of the Onanian School of Nursing’s Cap and Gown Awards. The award was unexpected, but appreciated. For D’Lugo, serving her community and helping others is just a part of who she is.

“ I always want to help people be the best that they can be,” she says.