Turning ambition into achievement: Joseph Vercillo's remarkable journey into nursing
Wednesday, May 08, 2024

MOUNT LAUREL – Joseph Vercillo embarked on a remarkable journey of profound personal transformation through Rowan College at Burlington County 20 years after his last educational experience. 

Vercillo, originally from Canada, started from scratch after spending years drifting from various jobs without a firm career path. With the encouragement of his wife, he decided to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter, attending fire school and joining volunteer fire departments while working toward a career in firefighting.

To enhance his resume, he enrolled in RCBC’s EMT program, developing a love for emergency medicine that spurred him to apply for and complete RCBC’s competitive nursing program at 43. Returning to school filled him with uncertainty. However, instead of being hindered by self-doubts, he used them as fuel for motivation. “It’s never too late,” he said. 

His nursing journey included some obstacles, including visa complications that forced him to take a sabbatical for a year, compounded by the death of his mother in December. His mom always provided him with unwavering support throughout his academic journey. Despite the devastating blow, Vercillo found solace in honoring her memory and persevering through his studies, drawing strength from her example of resilience and courage in the face of adversity. 

Vercillo’s perseverance led to being selected to represent the college’s Health Sciences division as the President’s Award winner and will speak at commencement at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15. Visit rcbc.edu/commencement for more information.

Vercillo acknowledges the shared struggles and triumphs of nursing school, emphasizing the bond his classmates had formed through their experiences in the program. He advises others considering a career shift: “Don’t make excuses about why you can’t do something; put effort into pursuing your goals.”

Vercillo plans to continue his education through a master’s degree in nursing and eventually become a nurse practitioner or delve into medical research. After graduation, he plans to join Penn Medicine’s residency program in the Operating Room. 

In the face of adversity, Joseph Vercillo’s story is a testament to his resolve and tenacity to achieve his dreams. Vercillo is is steadfast in realizing his five-year personal and professional growth plan, striving to become the best version of himself possible.