ECU officials say a mother and daughter are the first pair to graduate from a unique College of Nursing program.
Jessica and Keelin Van Wagenen recently walked across the stage together at ECU to receive their degrees in Nursing.
This mother-daughter duo is showing that you can truly achieve anything at any age as long as you put your mind to it.
"At first they thought we were sisters, and then I would have to explain that I was the mom, and we were doing it together,' said Jessica Van Wagenen, Registered Nurse Graduate, ECU.
According to ECU, this was the first time ever that a mother and daughter completed the RIBN program at the same time.
Jessica, a mother of three and wife of a retired Marine said she had to put her dreams on hold to raise her daughters, "I always thought the girls needed some sort of stability because we were always picking up moving, and with their dad kind of in and out all the time. I decided to forgo my college and focus on giving the children as much stability as possible and stayed home with them."
Her daughter Keelin Van Wagenen said she's grateful for her mother who never gave up on her goals, "I tell her every day that I'm proud of her. She continued to do what she wanted to do."
Jessica is a nurse in the operating room for Carteret Healthcare, and Keelin is a nurse for ECU Health in pediatrics.
They both said going to Nursing school together is a memory they will cherish forever.
"It's really nice to be able to share that with my daughter. We will always have that together," Jessica said.
"It feels cool. Some people went to school with their siblings, some with their significant others, I just get to say I went with my mom," Keelin added.
Both leave strong words of encouragement for those who may be thinking about going back to school someday, "You can do it. Sometimes it will be hard, especially when you're doing it as an older person with family and other responsibilities. But as long as you have a good support system at home or school system it's achievable. You can do it," Jessica said.
Keelin added, "As long as you try, and that's what you want to do, go for it."
Jessica notes that her other two daughters don't want to pursue nursing. One wants to be an AG teacher, and the other an accountant.