Family Inspiration to Learn, Achieve and Serve Communities in Need

Jennifer Shintaku. Helen Shintaku.

A third-generation Golden Eagle, Jennifer Shintaku is inspired by her father, aunt, and uncle who are all Cal State LA graduates. Jennifer is especially inspired by her grandmother, Cal State LA Alumna Helen Shintaku, who was pursuing her nursing degree when WWII began. Helen was unable to continue her degree program because she was sent to an internment camp where she used her nursing skills in the encampment hospital. She then went back to school to finish her degree after the war ended, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Cal State LA in 1979. “From my grandmother, I learned what hard work and perseverance are,” says Jennifer.

Jennifer is an alumna of the Accelerated Bachelor of Arts in Nursing (ABSN) Program, administered by Cal State LA’s College of Professional and Global Education in partnership with the Patricia A. Chin School of Nursing. The ABSN program is for non-RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than nursing. Jennifer previously earned an associate degree in natural sciences and humanities from Pasadena City College and a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from UCLA. “I chose Cal State LA’s nursing program because it is well known for preparing students for successful careers in nursing and, because I already had a bachelor’s degree, I wanted an accelerated program,” says Jennifer.

In 2021, Jennifer was awarded a Nurse Corps Scholarship from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources & Services Administration. Jennifer is only the second student in the history of Cal State LA to receive this honor. The purpose of the Nurse Corps Scholarship Program is to provide scholarships to nursing students in exchange for a minimum two-year full-time service commitment at a health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses. “My studies and related training in underserved communities have provided me with a greater awareness of the disparities within healthcare,” says Jennifer. “I want to be part of the solution. That’s why I am pursuing a career in nursing.”

Jennifer was excited to be exposed to the different nursing specialties through her Cal State LA program. After graduating with an ABSN from Cal State LA in August of 2022, she plans to work as an RN while studying to become a nurse practitioner; possibly teach a clinical course in nursing, as well as pursue an advanced degree.