Outstanding Graduate Fremmy Cuadra Leaves Islander Impact Through Distance Education and Nursing Leadership

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Soon to be two-time alumnus of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and active-duty sailor, Fremmy Cuadra, is leading the way for future veterans through his experience in mentorship and work through distance education.

Nominated as an Outstanding Graduate for the fall class of 2020 by the Office of the Provost, Cuadra earned a Master of Science in Nursing Degree with a focus in Leadership of Nursing Systems. The College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS) graduate, who is currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan, said the skills and knowledge he has gained while attending the Island University have prepared him to be a caring transformational leader.

 “I graduated from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in May of 2017 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN), and the correct academic path for me was to follow-on with a master's degree,” Cuadra said. “I knew that coming back to A&M-Corpus Christi for my graduate degree would allow me to reach out to an experienced academic and administrative staff that would understand the challenges I face as an active-duty military member.”

Hailing from West New York, New Jersey, Cuadra is a naval nurse and family man with a fondness for giving back through education and mentorship. During his time as an Islander, Cuadra was unexpectedly put in charge of a nursing unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he said the skills he attained while working on his BSN allowed him to succeed.

“Although it was unexpected, I was prepared for it through a combination of experience and education. I turned around the morale of the unit and increased their efficiency,” Cuadra said. “The project that I implemented in this unit was shared governance. I gave power on how to conduct nursing care to the staff, guided their decisions, and cleared the bureaucratic roadblocks out of   their way. In turn, this unit received a grant from the Tri-Service Nursing Projects for $10,000.”

Earning his graduate education through Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Distance Education Program, Cuadra was mentored and supported by Dr. Heather DeGrande, CONHS Assistant Professor.

“The first time I met Fremmy was during his commissioning – he chose to be commissioned during a small ceremony with the CONHS – I think it was then I knew he’d be doing great things,” DeGrande said. “When he found out he would be deployed while taking my class this past summer, he didn’t skip a beat. He came to me with a plan and was prepared, I feel very strong that Fremmy has positioned himself to be a leader in the transformation of health care in the future.”

Having served as an Islander ambassador to the veteran community, Cuadra guided numerous Islander veteran students as they navigated the transition from active-duty military to full-time college students. Immigrating from Peru to the New York Metropolitan area at a young age, Cuadra said his decision to join the military was impacted by the events that transpired on Sept.  11, 2001.

“West New York is located across from the Hudson River. During my sophomore year in high school, I saw the Twin Towers collapse and the dust come across the river that lasted three days,” Cuadra said. “I knew then that I needed to do my part; so as soon as I was eligible, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a combat medic. I served in Afghanistan and in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and when I stepped into both countries for the first time, the same dusty air was present. I knew I was doing what I was supposed to do.”

A father, student, and selfless servant to his country, Cuadra said it is only with the support of his loving wife Sally, and children Sofia, Milana, and Elijah, that he was able to carry the dual load of collegiate life and military service.

“My wife is my rock; it is because of her and my children that I was able to continue my education. They sacrificed so much for me including weekends and holidays, all because I needed to get assignments done,” Cuadra said. “I felt guilty for not being there when I knew any other father would have, but my wife always surprised me with, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll have time when you’re done.’ She has made it possible for us to create memories around my school and work schedule; I know all of us are looking forward to graduation.”

Cuadra hopes to become a Commanding Officer in the U.S. Navy while finishing out his time stationed in Japan. Leaving behind a lasting Islander Impact to fellow veteran students and Islanders alike, Cuadra said he hopes the fall class of 2020 – like himself – will work to lead change and opportunity for the future.

“We are part of a class that knows how to achieve their goals regardless of our circumstances,” Cuadra said. “Our nation needs leaders that know how to persevere, and that is the class of 2020.”