An Amazing Journey from Africa to America

Amazing-Grace Ighedo ’16 strives to be the very best, no matter the circumstances or challenges of her life. This led her not only to the United States from Nigeria, but also to earn the coveted Minority Nurse Scholarship from Minority Nurse Magazine, and ultimately a degree from Mount Mercy University.

Her hard work at Mount Mercy also earned her the Mary Frances Warde Award during last spring’s commencement; the highest honor given to a student who transferred into Mount Mercy. It is conferred each year upon the graduate who possesses a high scholastic rating, and shows leadership and loyalty in furthering the ideals of Mount Mercy.

“She always had a very positive attitude,” said Dr. Mary Tarbox, professor and chair of Mount Mercy’s Department of Nursing. “She encouraged her fellow students and acted as a role model for many, especially non-traditional, working adults with families.”

Ighedo knew she wanted to be a nurse since age 16, and through hard work and personal conviction, she found a way to manifest that dream.

“I thought I didn’t have the brains for it,” she explained, “so I studied French instead.”

An unfortunate catalyst for change came in the form of a car accident. As Ighedo recovered at a medical facility in her home country of Nigeria, she experienced great love and care from the nursing staff.

“The nurses there took such good care of me,” Ighedo said. “I thought, ‘I wish I could be a nurse. I wish I could help people like this.’”

Though she continued her studies as a French major, she felt somewhat unsatisfied and uninspired. She knew that there was something more she wanted to accomplish—something more than graduating only to work for multinational oil and gas companies.

“Keep pushing, keep striving, and you will eventually get where you need to be.” — Amazing-Grace Ighedo ’16

In 2009, Ighedo traveled to the United States to join her husband, Andrew, who encouraged her to follow her dreams, telling her that in this country she could become anything she wanted to be. This was her chance to finally pursue her passion.

While a student at Mount Mercy, Ighedo maintained a 4.0 grade point average, earning a spot on the Dean’s List each semester. She served as a nursing student mentor, nursing tutor, writing specialist and a student representative for the Department of Nursing, Curriculum Committee.

Ighedo was awarded the Mercy Presidential scholarship, the J&J Campaign for Nursing’s Future and Minority Nurse Scholarships. Her induction into the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society and being conferred the Sister Mary Edward Nursing Award and the Mary Francis Warde Award, added up to an illustrious career on the Hill.

This, combined with the scholarship and Warde Award, added up to an illustrious career on the Hill.

Ighedo now works as a Registered Nurse for UnityPoint in the Intensive Care Unit at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids. She serves as a Board Member and Secretary to the Kappa Xi Chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society. In her scant free time between work and raising a family, she also volunteers for her church and the free clinic.

She said she believes that if you have a goal, you should run after it no matter where it takes you or the obstacles you face along the way. Keep pushing, keep striving, and you will eventually get where you need to be. Amazing!