CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021 - 15

15
RECENT GR ADS
With the graduation date looming, Emily
decided to take time off and travel to Texas,
alone, and focus on her project. But just as
she arrived, a massive winter storm hit and
blackouts rolled across the state. There
was no clean water, heat and electricity.
She gave up and decided to leave. But not
before breaking her foot.
Michael headed off to Morehouse College in Atlanta, a historically Black college for
men. He wants to learn about the business side of sustainable and renewable energy
to help promote the health of our planet.
In January 2022, Emily will leave Children's Hospital HIV clinic after 20 years and
take a new position at the Cizik School of Nursing at the UT Health Science Center in
Houston, Texas. She will be an assistant professor on the tenure track teaching PhD
students and continuing her research on young adults living with HIV, including those
transitioning to adult care, patient-provider-trust, and HIV prevention.
Finally back in Colorado and recovering
from foot surgery, Emily finished her
dissertation on young adults living with
HIV transitioning from pediatric HIV care
to adult HIV care. With a pandemic as a
new reality, she also included telehealth or
online care in her study. Emily successfully
defended her study in April, just in time to
graduate in May.
The road to graduation was also tough for
Michael. Like other high school students,
he was sent home in March of 2020 to
complete his junior year remotely, and
later decided he would stay at home for
his senior year, even though it was more
difficult for him than most other students.
Michael has dyslexia, a disorder
that makes it tough to read and interpret
words on paper.
" It was not easy for him. He even had a
teacher in 8th
grade tell him he would never
go to college. But other teachers saw his potential
and helped. So, Michael finished his
senior year strong. He was on the principal's
honor roll at East in the spring and fall of
his senior year, " said his mom.
On May 25th
, Michael graduated from
East High and earned a diploma. Twelve
hours later, his mom officially earned the
title of doctor in a hooding ceremony at
the University of Colorado. They took a
picture in full regalia together to commemorate
the moment.
" It was an insane year. We both had a tough
time. I worked full time and have five kids. I
look back now and wonder how we did that, "
said Emily. " Michael was very proud of me.
And we are proud of him. We couldn't have
done it without the support of my husband
Mark and the rest of our family. "
Emily got interested in helping children with HIV after she graduated from Cornell
University as a communication major. Before starting a career in journalism, she took
a year off to volunteer with other young adults at a farm in Northern California. The
family there fostered and adopted children with HIV and AIDS and Emily and the
other volunteers helped take care of them. While she was there, one child died. That
R to L:
Maren Barr,
Yabsera
Barr, Mark
Barr, Dr.
Emily Barr,
Cal Barr,
Madeline
Barr and
Phoebe Barr.
experience impacted Emily and changed her future course. Emily decided to become a
pediatric nurse practitioner and earned her Master's in Nursing from Yale University.
Emily and her husband Mark, who was adopted himself, had always talked about
adoption and since Mark's father was born in Africa, they were drawn to adopting from
Ethiopia. In 2006, the couple traveled to Ethiopia and brought home both Michael
and their youngest child, Yabsera.
Even though the number of guests was limited at their graduation ceremonies, all
of the Barr kids and relatives from California to New York were able to watch them
cross the stage because the ceremonies were streamed online. It was something that
probably would not have happened before the pandemic when people were expected
to show up in person.
In the end, the roadblocks they overcame to keep their vow made their double graduation
all the more meaningful and sweeter.

CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021

CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021 - Cover1
CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021 - 2
CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021 - 3
CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021 - 4
CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021 - 5
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CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021 - 31
CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2021 - Cover4
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