The Mencks Heart Stockton

Winter 2024 Issue
Feature Story

The Mencks Heart Stockton

Sisters take different paths to their Stockton degrees

By Loukaia Taylor '22

Menck sisters

Sisters Kimberly and Emily Menck. | Submitted photo


B e careful when deciding whether or not to choose Stockton University as your home for the next four years – your decision may be contagious.

Emily Menck, who is currently part of the Accelerated Nursing program in Manahawkin, was originally in a neuroscience program at another university when she decided that pre-med wasn’t her true calling. A conversation with her mother, who works as a nurse and recruiter, led her to check out Stockton’s Health Sciences program.

“She said, ‘Hey, I know this amazing program at Stockton. They know what they're talking about, and their personalities are similar to yours. You would just adore it,’" Emily said. “I applied, I got in and I became a part of the undergrad community in the Health Sciences.”

Emily soon found herself immersed at Stockton's Manahawkin location – when she’s not practicing clinical rotations in the labs, she’s facilitating meetings for the Accelerated Nursing Club and making friends all throughout the campus, which she considers her favorite.

“When you walk into the Manahawkin campus, they have complimentary teas, coffees and hot chocolate and so many comfortable study nooks and spaces. That suite, in particular, only has one classroom, and it is home to both of our labs. One looks almost like a doctor's office setup, and then the other side has maybe six or seven mannequins and beds to do our hands-on and tactile practicing while the other side is more for assessing our classmates or simulation patients.”  

She considers the Manahawkin site as “kind, warm, welcoming and personable,” which proved to be very important for her experience there as a student and employee. For example, her kinship with Brigitte Reid, a security guard that she described as “the sunshine-iest person ever, but we also know if something ever goes down, she will cut them at the knees.”

“Any issues we have, a lot of us go to Michelle [Collins-Davies] or Nicole [Heinrich]. Bridget will also take care of us too. I also had the pleasure of being one of their student workers, so I've seen Brigitte sit there, watch someone walk in and go, ‘He's on fire today. He's going to ace his exam.’ And like, I just think he's walking in like a normal student, like every day. Whatever. But then he runs up to us and goes, ‘I got a 95!’ It's so precious, like, you can't buy that,” Emily said with a smile.  

It was that kind of community and spirit, as well as the academic rigor that Emily had on the Manahawkin campus, that helped inspire her sister, Kimberly, to reconsider Stockton for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Young Emily and Kimberly Menck painting a fence
Emily and Kimberly have been close since the beginning. | Submitted photo

“Initially, when I first applied to college, I was between Stockton or a school up in Connecticut. I ended up going to Connecticut with my best friend for physical therapy and psychology. I realized that (physical therapy) wasn't for me and that I loved the one psychology class I took. So, I was like, ‘OK, well, I'm going back to Stockton’ because I had originally liked it when I went on a tour,” Kimberly shared. “As far as the master’s program, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Then, I took an undergrad class with Sara Martino, and she actually told me about the Counseling program, and that's how I ended up here.”

It's a friendship; it's warm, it's welcoming and you're not alone. You're not just another number: when we see someone struggling, we're like, ‘Hey, I have some notes. If you need help, this is what I have for you.'”
Emily Menck on her cohort of Accelerated Nursing students

Since joining Stockton, Kimberly has taken classes on every campus. Out of all of them, she considers Kramer Hall in Hammonton “a cute little town” and her favorite location. When not in class, she’s checking out the DIY arts and crafts activities at the Noyes Art Gallery or looking for hangout spots around the town. And, like Emily, she’s made friends with the security guards who greet her every day on her way to class.

“My class has a 30-minute break on our Thursdays, so we're always walking to a taco truck across the street where they have those bottle opener sodas (Jarritos). One day, I walked in, and the security guy was like, ‘Did you open yours already?’ and he had a whole bottle opener on his keys ready for me,” Kimberly shared.

Both Kimberly and Emily’s programs strongly encourage cohort interaction, so they frequently meet with their peers in their respective programs. This sort of camaraderie has not only helped the sisters in terms of keeping up with coursework and meeting people from different walks of life but has also empowered them to support their cohort mates.

“I would say it is a majority of people around my age that just got out of undergrad. There are, I think, some that are at least 10 years older than me and have had full careers. There’s even someone in my class who is not in the cohort, but he’s taking the class for his second master’s. We have a GroupMe, and most of it is just all of us stressed out together,” Kimberly said with a laugh. “But a week or two ago, something happened with one girl's car, and we had a bunch of people offering to help drive her to school.”  

“It's a friendship; it's warm, it's welcoming and you're not alone. You're not just another number: when we see someone struggling, we're like, ‘Hey, I have some notes. If you need help, this is what I have for you,'” Emily said. “Or, like recently, someone in my program had something happen with her housing, and a few of us filled out CARES applications, and we went to Michelle and Nicole like, ‘Hey, what could we do for her?’ We truly do care about the other person sitting next to us because we hope they do the same for us; it's part of why we even went into this program.”

After graduating, the sisters plan to stay within their respective industries.

Emily will become a nurse, pursue her master’s degree in nursing after gaining clinical experience and is thinking of becoming a nursing instructor in the future. This is after she fulfills an unexpected personal goal of hers: swimming with pigs in the Bahamas.

“Like big, fluffy pigs – that is number one on my goal list. I’ve been in school since I was in preschool, I need a break!” Emily said, justifying her answer as Kimberly laughed.

Kimberly, who is not a big fan of pigs and has already taken a year break after graduating early from her undergraduate degree, is looking forward to completing her clinical hours for her first license and is planning to earn another one right after.

“Hopefully, with my internships, they might want to let me stay and actually work there. But if not, I plan on finding a private practice to work at and then eventually going back for my doctorate. Eventually, I’ll get my loans down a little, too,” Kimberly said as Emily nodded in agreement.

Ah, yes, student loans. Yet another thing the sisters are in agreement about.


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