May 14, 2018


Note: This article is part of the StanGrad series highlighting Stanislaus State students who are part of the Class of 2018.  Read more StanGrad profiles.

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Vera Rocco has been a registered nurse since 1992. A battle with cancer gave her insight and a determination to move forward with her dreams.

“As a 6-year cancer survivor, I see and live life differently,” Rocco said. “I do not look to the past to see what could have been but look forward to what I can do to be a change agent. I hope to inspire my son, who will graduate from high school this year, and others to know that goals are attainable with positivity, dedication and support.”

She will graduate this spring with a Master of Science in Nursing, with education and administration concentrations. She works as the clinical educator at Mercy Medical Center in Merced, and the clinical assistant at Merced College.

“Ms. Rocco stands out in her group as a leader, demonstrates a thirst for knowledge and enjoys learning,” said Carolyn Martin, director of the nursing graduate program. “She actively participates in classroom discussion. Information that she contributes during course activities and assignments reflects a professional commitment to nursing. She is organized, completes her assignments on time and at a high level. Her current GPA is 4.0, which reflects her stellar achievement as a graduate student.”

Her parents emigrated from the Philippines and worked extra hours and extra jobs to put their daughter through college. “Hard work, perseverance and a supportive family surrounded my life,” Rocco said. While a graduate student at Stan State, she has been an active volunteer, including serving on the Code-Blue Subcommittee and the Collaborative Alliance for Nursing Outcomes (CALNOC) Skin Study. She participated in a group research project on managing patient safety and assisted with a presentation at the 2017 Association of California Nurse Leaders Conference.

#StanGrad File


Vera D. Rocco


Merced, CA


Master of Science in Nursing,
​with nursing education and administration concentrations

What memories stand out most from your time at Stanislaus State?

“I had many fun memories as a graduate student, but the most memorable moments were collaborating with my classmates on a research project we presented with our professor at the Western Institute of Nursing Research in Denver. Although there were only five students, I was fortunate to be part of a class who listens, supports and encourages one another.”

Which faculty or staff member had the greatest impact on you, and why?

“I acknowledge the entire nursing faculty who offered their time and support, however, Dr. Marla Seacrist was my professor for the majority of my classes and had the greatest impact on me as a student. It is great to have professors share information about their life so that, as students, we can find a connection. Not only did I learn the fine art of research and teaching, but also I learned about myself.”

What advice would you give to current and future students?

“Be grateful to have the opportunity to enroll in higher education because you have earned it. Continue to persevere and remember those who helped you along the way. When times seem tough, stay positive and look forward because you will eventually reach your goal.”