Kristina Roach

Decaturville, Tenn.


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Some students discover their career fields by accident, while others are inspired to fill certain roles. Kristina Roach’s inspiration was two years old.


When she was 15, the child of a close family friend was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a type of brain cancer. Roach accompanied her family to doctor’s appointments at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for two years. “I watched her fight her battle and I got to be there with her. That really inspired me to become a nurse,” Roach said.


Roach, a junior from Decaturville, is in the nursing program at the UT Martin Parsons Center. “The UTM Parsons Center nursing program is very unique in that way that we’re really close to our professors. They really push us to be the best we can be,” she said. “No matter what’s wrong you can text them, email them if you have a question, and they’re going to make sure, even after their work hours, that you’re doing the best you can.”


Roach choose the UT Martin Parsons Center location because it was close to home and more affordable than other local options. “I knew at the end of the day this was the best choice for me because I’m really close to my family and I enjoy spending time with my grandparents … and I knew I could do that here. I’ve never regretted it, not one time,” she said.


UT Martin has extended campus centers in Jackson, Selmer and Ripley in addition to the Parsons location, offering students a variety of options to complete their degrees in the comfort of their own communities.


“What I like most about the UTM Parsons Center is that when I walk in everyone greets me with a smile. … My nursing instructors make sure that at the end of the day you know what you’re doing and I really feel like they are trying to make us the best nurses possible,” Roach said.


“I just completed my first semester of nursing school and it was very hard!” she admitted, adding, “Every time it got hard I would think to myself how I watched a brave little girl fight with everything she had. She’s my inspiration every day.”


As Roach likes to say, “Heroes come in all sizes.” A little girl may have lost her own battle, but her will to fight lives on in others like Roach, who will undoubtedly leave her own impact on countless patients in the future.


And the UT Martin Parsons Center will help her get there.

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