Embracing Opportunities as a Pre-Nursing Student

For Gissell Aranda Jimenez, moving to Oklahoma as a high school senior came with challenges but also opportunities for growth. She has earned two certifications in Francis Tuttle’s Pre-Nursing program and hopes to continue her education as a Practical Nursing student next year.

Published May 23, 2024
Pre-Nursing Student Gissell Aranda Jimenez

Gissell Aranda Jimenez

Pre-Nursing Student



Alumni Class

2023 and 2024

“I just love CareerTech so much, and I can’t imagine not wanting to stay inside CareerTech. The community here is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it before. They always ask what’s going on, how they can help, and what resources we need.”

Gissell Aranda Jimenez is one to embrace opportunities, putting 100 percent of herself into whatever she does. That mindset can be seen in many aspects of her life, from adjusting to living in a new state to gaining valuable skills at Francis Tuttle Technology Center. 

The summer before her senior year of high school, Gissell and her family moved to Oklahoma from California, an experience she admits was difficult, especially since it was the first time in her life she had ever moved. Now, nearly two years later, she has built a strong community at Francis Tuttle and is preparing for a career in nursing. 

Gissell, who graduated from Putnam City High School in May 2023, heard about the technology center while at school. Unfortunately, the Pre-Nursing program had already started that year, but she later learned about the opportunity to complete the program in an accelerated, semester-long format. Gisselle recruited four of her classmates to join her, and they are now Certified Nurse Assistants. 

For the 2023-2024 school year, Gissell returned to the Pre-Nursing program and earned her Medical Assistant certification. Gissell is hoping to attend the Practical Nursing program on the Rockwell campus next fall as she keeps working toward becoming either a pediatric or obstetrics and gynecology nurse. 

Pre-Nursing Student Gissell Aranda Jimenez was crowned Miss Teen Oklahoma Latina
Gissell Aranda Jimenez (center) was crowned the 2024 Miss Teen Oklahoma Latina

Gissell’s interest in nursing began when her younger sister had febrile seizures that first occurred when she was a year old. Once she was diagnosed, Gissell learned more about the seizures and how to help care for her sister, giving her a first-person perspective on caring for others. Additionally, she wants to use her own experiences to support Spanish-speaking families as a nurse. 

“Another reason I want to become a nurse is because I want to translate for kids and their parents,” Gissell explained. “I know how it is going to the doctor’s office and translating for your parents. If I can be that person for somebody, I’m going to be that person for somebody.” 

When presented with the opportunity to compete in the Miss Oklahoma Latina Pageant last October, Gissell said yes, even though she had never done a pageant before. She was crowned Miss Teen Oklahoma Latina and has embraced the experiences and growth that have come with the title, including improving her public speaking skills and connecting with the Hispanic community in the state. 

During the pageant, Gissell told her instructor, Jennifer Sullivan-Ferree, about how she needed to gather votes. That led to Jennifer sharing the information with Reno’s instructional director and assistant instructional director, Christina Ward and Broderick Steed, and then the entire Reno campus supported Gissell. 

“Everyone helped me, which meant even more because not many people knew me at the time,” Gissell shared. “It was just like wow, we really are this community here where if one of us needs help, we’re all going to try and help. People believed in me, and it was amazing.” 

Gissell said she is grateful for all she has learned at Francis Tuttle so far. She added how much it means to her that she was able to attend for free in high school and to not have to pay tuition this past year thanks to the Next Step Tuition Waiver.  

“I can’t wait to come to school every day because I love what I am learning, I’m gaining experience, and I know what to expect when I am here,” Gissell said. “You really get to find yourself here.” 

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