Outstanding Islander Graduate Lindsey Castillo ‘23 Earns Nursing Degree

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Compassionate. Delivering care centered around patient and family needs. These words, atop Lindsey Castillo’s resume, are far from empty. She’s lived them.

The little girl who always knew she wanted to help people has grown up, and in her time as an Islander, has helped so many people — in her family, in her nursing program, and in the Coastal Bend community. 

As the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi College of Nursing and Health Sciences Spring 2023 Outstanding Islander Graduate, Castillo will graduate May 20 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, ready to be an advocate, an educator, and a role model for her future patients at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. She is taking part in a record-breaking ceremony that includes 1,319 graduates, the most Islanders to ever graduate in a single semester in the history of the university.

Originally from Sinton, Castillo discovered her calling for nursing by doing volunteer work at Doctor’s Regional Hospital as a high school student. As she looked for college programs, Castillo, the first in her family to attend college, said she was searching for a school close to home that could support her in her adjustment to college life. 

“Being a first-generation student, I knew college was going to be a challenge both financially and academically, so I wanted to attend a university that was known to support students in the Hispanic community and would help me develop my leadership skills and provide service opportunities to allow me to give back to the community I grew up in,” she said. “The faculty and staff at TAMU-CC have been a constant source of support, from the very first time I met a recruiter, to talking with an academic advisor, to building a relationship with each of my professors.”

When she got to TAMU-CC in fall 2020, Castillo spent her free time during that first semester investigating — often on foot — all the resources and programs available to her. 

“I made it a personal goal to find as many resources on campus as I could,” she said. “I achieved this by walking into buildings and asking people what they did. By doing this, I have been fortunate enough to be a part of some amazing programs that have provided me with a vast amount of resources that helped me grow in my academic pursuits and also as a person.”

For three of her years, she served as a student worker in the Registrar’s Office, working 20 hours a week providing customer service, helping students register each semester, and doing whatever was needed to keep the office running smoothly. 

“Lindsey took ‘other duties as assigned’ with a smile and a willingness to lead,” Associate Registrar Christie Roberts said. “She truly exemplifies what one is looking for in a loyal employee and is a role model for others.”

Castillo stayed involved her whole time at the Island University, connecting with the federal TRIO STEM program on campus, joining and ultimately serving as an officer in the Student Nurses Association, and the Women in Healthcare organization. 

“Women in Healthcare is not just about healthcare; we are a group of women that empower, encourage, and support women on their healthcare journeys and provide them with a space to speak up about their struggles and ask for assistance. The officers and I go out of our way to provide our members with information about careers in healthcare and network with women that are in careers that interest our members,” Castillo said.

Castillo also found a faculty mentor in Amy McClure, TAMU-CC Assistant Clinical Professor of Nursing and Faculty Advisor for Women in Healthcare.

“Professor McClure has been absolutely amazing at helping me with wonderful advice and guidance,” Castillo said. “She has connected me with resources on campus and advocated for me during my struggles. I’m grateful to Professor McClure for opening her door to me and allowing me to pick her brain about academics and personal things.”

McClure describes Castillo as positive, upbeat, and very accomplished.

“As Lindsey’s faculty mentor for the past three years, I have seen her grow from a pre-nursing student to a soon to be graduate,” McClure said. “She will be an amazing asset to the healthcare community.”

Castillo remained an active volunteer throughout her undergraduate career, serving with multiple health care organizations like the American Red Cross and Driscoll Children’s Hospital.

“Throughout my time as an Islander, I have made it a mission to actively participate in community work that has targeted the underprivileged populations,” Castillo said. “This allowed me to develop an understanding of the different communication styles needed to show people compassion and empathy when experiencing stress in their life.”

She put this empathy and compassion into practice in her own life when her grandmother fell ill with terminal metastatic cancer.

“​​I helped my Papa come to terms with losing the love of his life by explaining everything that was happening with hospice in a way that he could understand and comprehend,” she said. “I answered all his questions that he had; if I didn't know the answer at the time, I found it and told him. When my Nana asked me what was going on, I always told her the truth. even when all my other relatives didn’t want to tell her. When there were decisions to be made, I would take unbiased approaches to the subjects and explain to all persons who were part of the decision-making what each choice entailed and what the outcomes could be.”

Her ability to do this while managing her own stress and fear of the unknown only further illustrates the nurse she will be — a role she takes very seriously as she prepares to work in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Driscoll Children’s Hospital.

“Being a nurse is not just giving patients medication or following what the doctor orders, a nurse is so much more,” Castillo said. “A nurse will be the one holding your hand when it’s the worst moment in life or the greatest. We will be there in your most vulnerable state and support you without judgment. I chose to become a nurse because being a nurse is not just a job, it is a calling.”

* A previous version of this story identified Castillo as a founding member of Women in Healthcare. Castillo was an early member and officer of the organization.