A life-changing experience can happen when you least expect it. For Atarah “Tye” Jones, that moment happened when she was only 3 years old.
Playing in the kitchen of her family’s Milwaukee home on May 11, 1998, a young Tye accidentally knocked a pot off the stove and was doused by the hot liquid inside. Her mother, Monica Miller,
rushed her to the hospital. The second-degree burns inflicted upon much of Tye’s back, left arm, and neck necessitated a three-week stay in the hospital’s burn unit. “I don’t remember a lot
because I was so young, but I do remember being in a hospital and that the nurses were so nice and helpful,” Tye said. “That really stuck
with me and inspired me. For a long time now, I’ve wanted to be a pediatric nurse in a burn unit and help children like those nurses helped me when I was little.”
Tye is pursuing that career goal at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, where she’s entering her junior year and majoring in nursing. The Wisconsin Board of Nursing voted unanimously in January to approve authorization for Silver Lake College to begin admitting students to its new four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which starts this fall.
“I was so happy when I heard that the nursing program was approved here,” Tye said. “It was just in time. Now I don’t have to move anywhere else to get the degree I want. I want to spend the rest of my college years at Silver Lake.”
Tye is able to pursue her chosen career thanks to a Wisconsin Grant and a Silver Lake College Achievement Grant. “She models dedication to the nursing profession through her hard work, both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Brianna Neuser, director of the BSN program and Tye’s academic advisor. “Tye seeks out professional experiences that afford her the opportunity to improve the health of our community.”
Tye wants to support others, so she’s forming an organization with the help of her mother called Flawless Scars. “I want to travel and talk to younger children who were burned. It doesn’t matter if you have scars or not, you’re still flawless. And I want younger kids who were burned to know that, too,” Tye said of Flawless Scars.
“She took a traumatic event in her life and made it into a positive,” said her mother. “I have no doubt she chose the right profession. It’s a great fit for her, and we need more nurses these days.” Tye said she’s excited to help fill the growing need for nurses and share her experiences with patients recovering from burn injuries.
“What happened with the burns affected me … but it was in a good way,” she said. “It pushed me to continue to go to school and help others.
“Everything happens for a reason. Our scars make us who we are today.”