Multiple Sclerosis Gives Focus
Kathleen Capogrosso-Brown, who this spring collects two associate degrees from Queensborough Community College, had already decided to leave her career as a public high school teacher when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. That set her on a new path toward helping others with the disease.
Following graduation in 1999 from Baldwin High School on Long Island, she earned a B.S. in music education at New York University, secured state teaching certification in 2006 and began teaching at North Shore Middle School on Long Island. “I took on a lot of debt as a student at New York University,” she says. “Fortunately, I was able to get a job, but quickly became aware that there is more to teaching than just being an instructor.” By 2008 she was disillusioned by the intense bureaucracy and politics in the public school system and yearned for a change of pace and environment.
That year she was dealt a blow when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had to be hospitalized for several weeks. From then on, her health was a priority. Her developing interest in alternate and holistic treatment methods led her to enroll in Queensborough’s massage program. A faculty member soon recognized her intellect and encouraged her to take on a tough additional major, nursing.
“It was amazing to know that the faculty had such confidence in me,” she says. “They went above and beyond their day-to-day responsibilities and continually opened doors of opportunities. A double major demanded every ounce of my determination to succeed. I was on campus most days from early morning to late at night.”
However, she adds, “It is both the disappointments and the achievements throughout my life that have propelled me toward my goals.”
She graduates with a 3.87 grade point average and two A.A.S. degrees, one in nursing and the other in massage. Since fall 2009 Capogrosso-Brown was a Health Professions Scholar, receiving a full scholarship for tuition and books through the Office of the University Dean for Health and Human Services; this select scholarship, funded by the New York City Department of Small Business Services, aims to address workforce shortage areas and growth industries in health care. She also received an award from the All-New York Academic Team for the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. Capogrosso-Brown hopes to receive a John Dystel Nursing Fellowship from the Multiple Sclerosis Society to work at the New York University Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care Center.