By Kimberly Lewis August 2, 2010
On the popular reality TV show, "Dr. G: Medical Examiner," Arden Monroe-Obermeit battled a rare disease while working as a morgue technician.
This weekend, she'll graduate with a nursing degree from the University of Central Florida. She's eager to help others stay healthy so they don't become the medical examiner's next case.
Monroe-Obermeit's eight years of performing more than 3,000 autopsies and 500 death scene investigations, as well as a life-changing experience with a nurse practitioner, drove her to enroll in UCF's College of Nursing.
"I saw too many deaths caused by people ignoring their diabetes or their heart conditions," said Monroe-Obermeit. "In nursing, I absolutely love teaching patients how to avoid becoming a case at the morgue."
Monroe-Obermeit will be among the 3,032 anticipated graduates this semester. Ceremonies will be held at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, at the UCF Arena.
During her four years on the Discovery Channel television show, Monroe-Obermeit battled her own health issues, which she said many doctors were not able to diagnose. She long suspected Cushing's syndrome, a rare disorder that causes high levels of the hormone cortisol and results in a myriad of symptoms, including fatigue and weight gain.
It was a nurse practitioner who finally ordered radiological studies that helped her obtain the Cushing's diagnosis and get treatment. Medical specialists then surgically removed a tumor from her pituitary gland. After treatment, she quickly lost 80 pounds. Her TV fans noticed and applauded her in fan mail and blogs.
"A nurse practitioner made a huge impact on my life by helping me obtain a very difficult and rare diagnosis," she said. "The impact she had on me was inspiring. My dream is to be able to do that for just one of my patients in the future."
Monroe-Obermeit, who already holds a bachelor's degree in Biological Anthropology from the University of Florida, will enter the new post-baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice program in the fall to prepare for certification as a family nurse practitioner.
The anticipated summer graduates include 2,386 students who filed for bachelor's degrees, 515 for master's degrees, two for education specialist degrees and 129 for doctoral degrees.
UCF President John Hitt will award the 150,000th degree of his 18-year career at the summer ceremonies. Of the more than 203,000 degrees that UCF will have awarded after the two ceremonies, President Hitt will have awarded more than 151,600.
The 2 p.m. ceremony will feature the inaugural graduating class of UCF's post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program. The post-master's program teaches advanced practice nurses to perform at the highest level and prepares them for leadership roles in patient care.
The 9 a.m. ceremony will feature graduates of: College of Arts and Humanities, College of Business Administration, College of Education, College of Graduate Studies, Office of Undergraduate Studies and Rosen College of Hospitality Management. State Rep. Larry Cretul, speaker of the Florida House, will be the speaker. His district includes Marion and Levy counties, which UCF serves in partnership with the College of Central Florida.
The 2 p.m. ceremony will include graduates from: College of Engineering and Computer Science, College of Health and Public Affairs, College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Nursing, College of Optics and Photonics and College of Sciences. The speaker will be Ronald Rogers, president of Ronald O. Rogers & Associates management firm in Orlando. He is a noted civic leader who was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Orange County Community Action Agency.
The procession of graduates will begin 20 minutes before the start times of each ceremony.
Guests need tickets to attend the ceremonies. Guests without tickets can watch live broadcasts of all ceremonies at the Fairwinds Alumni Center across from the UCF Arena. Webcasts also are available live and after the ceremonies at http://webcast.oir.ucf.edu.
Of the more than 203,000 degrees that UCF will have awarded after the two ceremonies, President Hitt will have awarded more than 151,600. He awarded the 25,000th master's degree of his 17-year career at UCF in December, and the 200,000th bachelor's degree in May.
For more information about commencement, including details about parking, visit http://www.registrar.ucf.edu/commencement/terms/2010/summer.
UCF Stands For Opportunity: The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 3rd largest in the nation with more than 53,500 students. UCF's first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region's economic development. UCF's culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information visit http://news.ucf.edu.