May 1, 2024

Balancing Acts: PBA Athletic and Academic Excellence Converge for Nursing Graduates

a student-athlete playing lacrosse and softball

PBA News

A common obstacle many student-athletes face is having to choose between nurturing their athletic talents and pursuing their academic passions. However, at Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA), student-athletes are supported in both realms, and they are empowered to follow their dreams and pursue excellence in every endeavor. Katie Caras and Cambria Arturo, both student-athletes studying nursing, are two prime examples of this. While balancing demanding training schedules and a rigorous nursing program, PBA has made it possible for them to excel in their studies without compromising their athletic pursuits.  

Katie Caras’ Journey from Phoenixville to the Palm Beaches  

In 2020, after being recruited by PBA to play lacrosse, Katie Caras moved from her hometown of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania to the Sunshine State, and nearly five years later she has never looked back. She was initially drawn to PBA because of its Christian values, but being located within walking distance to the beach didn’t hurt, either. Katie’s journey at PBA was not an easy one, but she navigated the challenges with grace, and this August she will graduate with her master’s degree in Health Systems Leadership. 

Katie credits much of her success to the way PBA was able to equip her academically, athletically and spiritually.  

“Being in nursing and having professors who put Christ first has been so transformative for me,” Katie explained. “All the teaching comes from a Biblical worldview, and I have learned how to care for my patients with the love of Christ. I have really learned that this job that I have as a nurse is a gift. It is a privilege to be able to love and serve others through my occupation.”  

Not only will Katie graduate with a master’s in health systems leadership, but she has a built-in community through lacrosse and friendships that will last a lifetime.  

“The girls on the team are my best friends. Because I am studying nursing, I don’t always have a lot of free time. But being able to go to lacrosse and see my best friends and laugh with them and cry with them – that is what has made my experience so amazing.”  

Katie has flourished throughout her time at PBA and said that she has experienced so much growth as an individual. Being a student-athlete, and juggling both lacrosse and nursing, she learned about leadership, teamwork, time management and more. She explained that she had to learn to set her priorities straight and put God first. She is excited to begin a new chapter and see what the Lord has in store for her.   

“PBA has really prepared me to step into the nursing field, and spiritually I think I have grown in boldness and understanding, and in my relationship with the Lord. Now, going out into the world, I feel like I can stand firm in my own convictions. I am excited to step out and share the love of Christ in my work field,” Katie said. “PBA is a transformative place. I am leaving here better than when I came in.” 

Beyond the Field: Cambria Arturo’s PBA Experience  

Cambria Arturo grew up just outside of Jacksonville in Middleburg, Florida, and she was recruited by PBA to play softball. The location, welcoming atmosphere and kindness of the community initially drew her in, but it was PBA’s willingness to allow her to study nursing as a student-athlete that was the deciding factor in her decision to come to PBA.  

“The other school that I was looking at wouldn’t even consider allowing me to be a nursing major while I was playing a sport,” she explained.  

Although it was an adjustment learning how to manage her time between playing a collegiate sport and pursuing a nursing degree, Cambria leaned on the support of her teammates, coaches and professors, and this May she will walk across the stage to accept her BSN degree. She has thrived at PBA both academically and athletically, earning spots on the Athletic Director’s List, Provost’s List and Commissioner’s Honor Roll multiple times throughout her five years. She would like to seek a career in surgical nursing, and she feels confident PBA has set her up for success in her future endeavors.  

“PBA has helped prepare me through all of our nursing clinicals. I am able to get hands-on experience in the hospital, and I have been able to see every part of nursing that I possibly can,” she explained. “Because of PBA, I have learned what it looks like to have Christ at the center of my life and have him as my strong foundation.”  

Faith is woven into everything that PBA does, and Cambria shared how much she has been impacted by the way both her coaches and professors have poured into her spiritually.  

“I pray with my teammates and coaches before and after every game we play, and it’s the same thing in the classroom, too. Before every test, our professors pray for us. That is one of my favorite things about PBA, and I don’t think many other schools have that.”  

To learn more about PBA’s nursing program, click here. To see what the Sailfish Athletics teams are up to, click here.  

To watch PBA’s 2024 Commencement recap video, click here

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