Riverside College of Health Careers (RCHC) offers a substantial opportunity for student involvement, where students can improve the quality of life for all by helping others through its mission, “Caring for others as you would care for those you love by enhancing the well-being of the community.” This higher-education facility not only offers programs such as nursing, radiology and surgical technology, but also physical therapy and medical-assisting programs, among others.
Robin Nelhuebel, executive director of Riverside College of Health Careers and an alumnae of Riverside’s professional nursing program, has been working with Riverside for the last 33 years and with Riverside College for 20 years. Her passion is seeing students grow to become exceptional medical professionals in their field. “Having a student who wants to become a nurse or a radiology technologist who recognizes the positive, long-reaching effects he or she will have on thousands of people is truly incredible,” Nelhuebel says.
Michael Hamilton MEd, RCHC’s dean of student success and colleague of Nelhuebel, has been with Riverside for the past 14 years and mostly enjoys working with students, having a direct connection. “It’s amazing to see students succeed and meet their goals; it’s really the driving force in this profession,” Hamilton says.
Falling into higher education uniquely, Nelhuebel was initially dual credentialed as a radiology technologist and registered nurse and was personally asked by a colleague if she had considered working for Riverside College. “Having connections with colleagues who truly understood my potential and my professional and academic strengths brought me to higher education,” Nelhuebel says.
While there are benefits to understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses in your profession, Hamilton feels it can be quite daunting to find your professional path. “As a first-generation college student, I struggled significantly, so having someone help me early on is what led me to higher education. I want to help someone just like someone helped me,” says Hamilton. “Riverside is very good at recognizing bright students and keeping them, allowing them to exceed their goals, pushing through challenges and seeking new opportunities,” Nelhuebel adds.
While each day can bring new and exciting challenges, both Nelhuebel and Hamilton often spend their work day communicating with the different divisions of the college to ensure everything runs smoothly on campus. Nelhuebel attends many meetings, connecting with both internal and external customers, while Hamilton communicates with various departments on campus such as Riverside College’s recruitment and marketing team and admissions team, along with managing multiple projects simultaneously.
Though Nelhuebel and Hamilton remain passionate about their profession, there can be obstacles and challenges that often make it difficult to balance all the pieces. “Managing regulations for various academic disciplines, balancing the state and federal guidelines surrounding higher education, the cost of education and helping to ensure we are constantly doing right by the faculty, students and accrediting bodies can be quite the challenging balance act at times,” says Nelhuebel. She says she feels grateful and blessed to have such a fantastic leadership team who have really made a difference in her life at Riverside.
With a focus on campus student engagement, Riverside College maintains a student engagement coordinator who works directly with Riverside students and various departments to encourage students to support Riverside’s educational programs, such as its Honors Society. The talent acquisition team visits the campus often to help engage students in entry-level positions at the college while attending as a student. “Many of our students are also Riverside employees, so they have the benefit of receiving additional tuition reimbursement as employee students,” Nelhuebel says.
Riverside participates in the United Way Day of Caring to encourage more student involvement and campus service. “Riverside College also hosts various social events on campus such as Pelican’s SnoBalls, food trucks, student luncheons, a September fall festival and so much more,” Hamilton adds.
When she is away from the college, Nelhuebel enjoys the beach, visiting various local wineries, hiking and spending time with her husband of 30 years and their son and daughter.
Hamilton enjoys going to the pool and spending time with his wife of 13 years and their three dogs.
With a passion for higher education, student engagement and leadership, Riverside College of Health Careers continues to change the lives of students and community members one step at a time. Through its dedicated staff and abundant network of resources, Nelhuebel and Hamilton believe Riverside will continue to be the driving force of personal care and human compassion for decades to come.
TO THE POINT:
Riverside College of Health Careers
Contacts: Robin Nelhuebel, PhD, MSN, RN, RTR, executive director; Michael Hamilton, dean of student success
Address: 316 Main St., Newport News, VA 23606