“My mom inspired me to pursue nursing,” says Linah Monize, a junior nursing student at UCF Orlando. “I grew up watching her further her education in healthcare, first as a nurse and then as a nurse practitioner.”

Her mother, Mildride Monize ’99 ’04 ’23DNP, was inspired to become a nurse by her own mother who migrated from Haiti to the U.S. and worked in various roles as a registered nurse.

“My mother has always been a loving, caring, and independent person,” Mildride says. “She showed me that her career in nursing allowed her to achieve many of her goals,” says the three-time alumna.

Mildride Monize ’99 ’04 ’23DNP (center) with her daughters Linah Monize (left) and Sulah Monize (right).

Mildride and her mother not only inspired Linah but also her sister and three cousins to pursue a nursing career. This past semester, all five cousins were enrolled at UCF’s College of Nursing.

“We’ve had twins, pairs of siblings, and second-generation UCF nursing students in the past, but to have five family members enrolled all at the same time is quite unique,” says Jessica Simmons, assistant dean of students. “Nurses inspire nurses, and Knight nurses inspire Knight nurses. No doubt they were all inspired to care for our communities by Dr. Monize.”

A Family that Studies Together

The second generation of UCF nursing students are among the youngest in their cohort as all five earned their associate’s degree while in high school through dual enrollment.

Graduating next spring with a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) will be Monize’s daughters, Linah and Sulah who are enrolled at UCF Orlando, and their cousin Samuel Frederick who is at UCF Cocoa.

Stephen Frederick ’24, Samuel’s brother, graduated last week with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and older brother David Frederick ’20 will graduate with his second UCF nursing degree this upcoming August. He’s currently enrolled in the family nurse practitioner doctoral program.

“Having my family go to UCF with me and become Knight nurses together has been nothing short of amazing,” Stephen says. The families not only have a close bond, but also grew up close by — just five minutes apart in St. Cloud, Florida.

That proximity makes it easy to share experiences in-person.

“So far, I would say the best thing about going to nursing school with family is that we all have a built-in study buddy,” Linah says. “We hang out often and we all have a firsthand understanding of each other’s situation.”

UCF was an obvious choice for all of the students, but not just to follow in family footsteps.

“UCF was always touted as the school to attend; the nursing program in particular was impressive in its achievements and national rankings,” Linah says. “I also knew from the experiences of David and my mom that UCF’s College of Nursing was truly innovative in their education.”

“I never thought about going anywhere else,” adds her sister Sulah.

For David, seeing his brothers and cousins in the BSN program at UCF is a full-circle moment.

“I love talking to them about their classes and clinicals while reminiscing about my time in the program,” he says. “The ultimate gratification I have is when we talk shop and I can tell the lightbulb is lit for them. I don’t have words to describe how wildly proud I am of all of them.”

 Stephen Frederick, Sulah Monize, David Frederick, Linah Monize and Samuel Frederick pose for a photo with the UCF logo in the background
Knight nurses and family members (left to right) Mildride Monize ’99 ’04 ’23DNP, Sulah Monize, Stephen Frederick ’24 and Linah Monize,

A Family that Stays Together

The inspiration to pursue a healthcare career for David and his brothers not only comes from their Aunt Mildride but also their own mother. During a period of their childhood, their mother was hospitalized a lot.

“Throughout that vulnerable time for our family, one constant variable that got us through was the compassion of her nurses,” says David, who currently works in the neuroscience intensive care unit at Orlando Health. “The care, time and consideration those nurses bestowed to my mother and our family always stuck with me. I carry those memories with me now in my practice and as a nurse practitioner student.”

After he graduates this summer and passes the nurse practitioner board certification exam, David plans to remain in the Central Florida community and provide primary care to residents of all ages. He’s not the only one who plans to stay local.

Stephen, who just graduated, has just accepted a job as a registered nurse in the operating room at Orlando Regional Medical Center where he worked as a student nurse intern while at UCF. In the future, he plans to return to school to become a surgeon.

Their brother Samuel plans to stay in St. Cloud, initially working in critical care nursing before furthering his education to become a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist.

Sulah and Linah also have career goals to become nurse practitioners. Sulah plans to initially work in a pediatric intensive care unit as a nurse before advancing her education to become an acute care nurse practitioner. She plans to stay in state for graduate school and after completing her education, she may explore options abroad with her sister.

“I think having a degree from a university as recognizable as UCF will allow me to go far, and equip me with enough knowledge to thrive in any environment,” says Linah, who also plans to work as a nurse in a pediatric intensive care unit before returning to school to become a pediatric nurse practitioner.

The family of nurses has made, and will continue to make, a significant impact on the health of communities around the world and in the local region. They’re not alone. Of the more than 16,000 UCF Knight nurse alumni, 85% live and work Florida and nearly 60% remain in the Central Florida region.

Mildride, who currently works as at the Orlando Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center as a nocturnal medical on-duty nurse practitioner hospitalist and works part time at a local dermatology clinic, is among these Knight nurses.

“My aunt, Dr. Mildride Monize, is not only a true inspiration in our career path but also a great example of what a good work ethic can help you accomplish,” Stephen says.

Mildride’s work ethic was inspired by her own mother, who worked in a pediatric step-down unit, connecting with families and providing support to children and teens. In addition, Mildride’s mother opened up a home healthcare agency where she was able to educate fellow immigrants on healthcare careers to allow them to achieve stability in their new life journey.

“She encouraged me to become a nurse, and after many years, I decided that nursing was a better career,” says Mildride, who returned to UCF after earning a bachelor’s degree in health sciences to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She was in the first cohort of students in the accelerated second degree bachelor’s in nursing program.

The ability to make an impact and the unlimited opportunities a nursing career provides is what she hopes will continue to inspire the next generation as they embark on their journey.

“Nursing is not an easy sit-down profession. However, it will provide many opportunities to make a difference in a patient’s life. The power of demonstrating simple sincerity to patients and people can make a big positive impact,” Mildride says. “Additionally, the profession is fluid and dynamic. It will take them as far as their heart desires.”