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Alumni Family Embracing Life’s Opportunities While Serving in Healthcare and Military Roles

May 13, 2024 By Queens University Communications

Jocelyn (Kellinger) ’14 and Eric Dolan ’16 have carried knowledge gained during their experiences at Queens across the world. They met during her final year semester; Eric was a sophomore at the time. They were introduced through a mutual friend who played on the Queens women’s volleyball team with Jocelyn. The two became friends, which eventually blossomed into romance.

Despite being strangers at the time when each one was considering their post-secondary education, for both, sports was a common denominator and their reasons for choosing Queens were remarkably similar.

“I knew I wanted to be able continue to play volleyball at the collegiate level while also getting my degree in nursing. I was fortunate enough to be able to have the support to do that at Queens. I absolutely fell in love with the campus, neighborhood, and city during my first visit,” Jocelyn said.

Eric said, “I was recruited to play lacrosse. I ultimately picked Queens because of the location. I’m originally from New England so I wanted to be somewhere warmer. I was also drawn to Queens because it’s in the city and there is a lot to do but it doesn’t have a big city feel.”

Jocelyn completed her education at Queens University of Charlotte’s Blair College of Health with a degree in nursing and remained in North Carolina, where she launched her career at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

“I’m sure I’m not alone, but I had a hard time transitioning my first semester at Queens. New city. New friends. New team. Completely new experience. After speaking to some friends and mentors, I was encouraged to stay and open myself up to new and different opportunities,” she said. “I’m so glad I did.”

Turning her first-year challenges into opportunities, Jocelyn developed skills allowing her to be flexible and adaptable, while also building relationships with those around her.

Eric, who was an accounting major, joined the U.S. Marine Corps the fall after his graduation and went to Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. Soon after he was commissioned as an officer, he was sent to California for his first official duty station.

After successfully navigating the long-distance relationship, Jocelyn moved to California and worked as a travel nurse. Between two seven-month overseas deployments for Eric, the two were married in Monroe, North Carolina. Choosing to return to the Charlotte area for their wedding was intentional because they had so many friends still there.

The relationships and community Jocelyn and Eric developed at Queens — along with the crucial career skills they gained — have been influential in their lives.

As a Captain in the Marines, Eric attributes his leadership abilities to the opportunities he was offered while at Queens.

“The most beneficial was serving as a captain of the lacrosse team my junior and senior years. Leading a team of 40-50 guys is both rewarding and challenging but, ultimately, when it came time to lead Marines it came naturally,” he said.

Jocelyn echoes his statement. “The leadership opportunities I had through the resident assistant (RA), volleyball and nursing programs helped set me up for success. I truly believe that each person and experience that we encounter in life are there to help us learn, grow, and shape us in some way. I can honestly say that my time at Queens did just that,” she said.

Having spent her sophomore, junior, and senior years as an RA at Queens, Jocelyn insists that it was a transformational experience. “Being an RA truly helped me be the person I am today. I have taken so much from what I learned over those three years and have been able to apply it to not only my everyday life but also my nursing practice.”

In 2021, the Dolans moved to Okinawa, Japan, for a three-year permanent change of station. Jocelyn has continued her career, working as a general standard nurse at the U.S. Naval Hospital there. While in Okinawa, their family grew to include their son Rory.

The family of three is returning to the U.S. soon, however — back to the state where Jocelyn and Eric met.
“This summer, we will move to our next duty station in Jacksonville, North Carolina. We will be there for two years, then receive orders to move again,” Jocelyn said.

As someone who once experienced a bit of trepidation in her first year of college, Jocelyn is now seemingly undeterred by life’s transitions. Because of her time at Queens, she knows how to establish connections wherever she is and can thrive in new situations — such as moves across the world.

“One of the biggest things that stood out (at Queens) was the incredible community,” she said.

By Nicole Ward Beckley