‘I Took That Leap of Faith’: Milwaukee Teen Finishes Nursing Degree Before Her High School Graduation

Imunique Triplett, 17, says she didn’t think it was possible to get a college degree before graduating high school, but that’s what happened as she entered her final semester in high school as a senior.

Triplett is one of the first to complete the nursing track as part of the M-Cubed College Connections program in December, an innovative dual enrollment program where Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Area Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee allow students to complete their high school requirements and earn college credits from the college and university at no cost to the student.

Triplett says she had to juggle her three to four college classes and high school coursework simultaneously including during the height of the pandemic. “I definitely say the second semester was the hardest to balance especially since I kind of wanted to have that normal high school experience as well, so I was kind of trying to juggle all of those things,” Triplett said.

Before joining the program, Triplett was squeamish about the medical field. “I was actually kind of anti-health care because I was so scared of body fluids and blood and things like that, so I kind of made my own assumptions about the health care field based on what I saw on TV and everything,” she said. Triplett grew to have had a change of heart as she learned more about nursing.

Triplett’s mom, Bonnie Campbell, was pleasantly surprised her daughter went into nursing but is glad she stuck with it until the end. “She wasn’t into the meds and stuff like that, so I was like, are you sure, because we’ve got to be the ones running you back and forth, so make sure this is what you want to do, and she really surprised me,” Campbell said.

James Sokolowski, post-secondary engagement coordinator for Milwaukee Public Schools, says many Black and brown students are taking advantage of the M-Cubed program, which in addition to nursing, also offers education and general studies tracks. The nursing program typically has about 150 students apply, but 36 are selected.

Some 82 percent of students within Milwaukee’s public school system which are considered economically disadvantaged. MPS has around 77,700 students, with 54 percent Black, 27 percent Hispanic, 11 percent white, and 7 percent Asian, according to latest data.  

With her first college graduation behind her and a high school graduation months away, Triplett is beginning to narrow down her college options and she’s deciding if she wants to continue pursuing nursing or turn toward becoming a medical doctor.

“Imunique is kind of like our pioneer, she’s only one of one right now, she has all the options in the world open to her because she’s blowing up,” Sokolowski said. “Atlanta Black Star?! That’s a huge deal.”

“I would have had so many regrets, so I’m glad I just went and did it and took that leap of faith into the unknown basically,” Triplett said of her accomplishment.

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