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Mason Crawford ’19, ’21M, ’23M

Mason Crawford ’19, ’21M, ’23M will attain a Master of Science in Nursing degree in December,  making them a three-time alum.
Mason Crawford ’19, ’21M, ’23M will attain a Master of Science in Nursing degree in December, making them a three-time alum.
Photo: Jeff Janowski/UNCW

If Mason Crawford ’19, ’21M, ’23M had to describe their UNCW experience in three words, the soon-to-be three-time alum would choose “keep coming back.”

Crawford will attain a Master of Science in Nursing during the December commencement exercise. They received a bachelor’s degree through the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses and the RN to BSN programs and a Master of Business Administration from the university.

“UNCW is what I know. It seems like home,” said Crawford. “Also, I keep setting professional goals every two years or so. It turns out these goals match well with attaining higher education. I attained my master’s in business to learn more about the business side of healthcare. I was a clinical coordinator at Novant/New Hanover at that time. Sadly, close to the end of my MBA, I decided that healthcare leadership was not for me. It took me away from patient care and why I wanted to do nursing. I set a new goal to be part of the next generation of nursing education.”

Crawford’s passion for teaching fueled their desire to pursue an MSN degree. Crawford currently serves as a part-time clinical instructor at Cape Fear Community College.

“I hope to become a full-time member of the college faculty at my current workplace,” Crawford said. “I am just hungry to get involved in curriculum planning and lecturing. I need to feel useful. I think the goal of any work should be, ‘How can I benefit society with this?’”

The practicum helped Crawford develop the curriculum at their workplace. “Connecting theory with practice is extremely important; I believe it gives the students a foundation for critical thinking.”

Crawford found time to serve as a College of Health and Human Services student ambassador between studies and work. As an undergraduate, Crawford was involved with the Mohin-Scholz LGBTQIA Center and TriBeta.They also received the McLemore Family Scholarship in Chemistry and the Boseman-TenHuisen Diversity Scholarship.

“I enjoyed jumping into whatever I had time for,” Crawford said. “If there is anything I can do to help the student ambassadors, or they want to invite me to meetings, I would show up for them even if I was past graduation. They showed up for me. That’s what it takes to build trust and loyalty in my book. People that consistently are there.”

Reflecting on their time as a student, Crawford said nursing school changed them.

“That’s where I got resilience,” Crawford said. “I think that, in general, you are either ready for it or not. But even the prepared students can’t predict exactly what’s in store. It also changed me, made me more compassionate and focused on building up other people’s confidence.”

Crawford said the road to success was long and full of setbacks, but they are open to learning more.

“I am not getting a third master’s degree, probably,” said Crawford. “Soon I will have an MBA and MSN if all goes to plan. That seems to align well with the DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) with the nurse leadership concentration, doesn’t it?"