Regis Today | Fall 2020 | Let It Shine

Virtual Let It Shine Gala honors all Regis health care professionals and raises more than $400,000 for student scholarships. 

The fifth annual Let It Shine Gala, celebrated virtually on October 28, 2020, raised more than $400,000 from 250 supporters and participants—bringing the total raised through Let It Shine galas throughout the years to nearly $4 million.

The virtual gala included appearances by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh; Regis President Antoinette M. Hays, PhD, RN; student scholar Alexa Petkewich ’22; several health care heroes; Sister Lee Hogan ’61, CSJ, Regis Board member and president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston; Regis Board members Kathleen S. Jose ’87, ’94, MSN, RN, and Joe-Ann Fergus, PhD, RN; and Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley. Let It Shine was once again emceed by Kelley Tuthill, EdD ’20.



Kaitlyn Cowden"Working on the front lines has been very humbling—it has opened my eyes to how vulnerable people can be and how much they rely on not only educated professionals, but compassionate humans … I feel so fortunate to be able to be one of those people. To the Regis community, thank you for imparting your wisdom upon me and making me the nurse
that I am today.” ~ Kaitlyn Cowden, RN, BSN ’18



Alexa Petkewich

Alexa Petkewich ’22, Sister Thérèse Higgins, CSJ, Scholar and undergraduate in the Young School of Nursing, was the featured student speaker at the virtual gala. The following includes excerpts from Petkewich’s speech; to watch the gala and her full speech, please visit

I have wanted to work in health care since I was young, and when my grandfather’s Alzheimer’s disease worsened, I became a nursing assistant in a nursing home because I wanted to be there for people in their most vulnerable times. I graduated from Northeast Metro Tech, a vocationaltechnical high school, where I earned a certified nursing assistant license while balancing academics and a co-op program. These experiences really confirmed for me that I wanted to pursue nursing in college, and I was so happy when I was accepted to Regis’ highly reputable nursing program and received a scholarship.

After participating in the Regis Summer Scholars Program, I knew for sure it was the school for me. While still in high school, I took two accelerated college courses, earned college credits, lived in the Maria Hall suites at Regis, used library resources, and met with very nice professors, staff, and fellow students. I observed Pride Guides and orientation leaders help students, address concerns, and answer questions. This all influenced my decision to be a part of the Regis Pride and to become a pride guide student tour guide and orientation leader myself.

As a freshman, as I embarked on my Regis journey, I learned a lesson that I will take with me as I move on in my career: Take the time to talk to others. By doing so, I was inspired to join clubs and be involved on and off campus. I tutored children at Bethany Hill, helping them in their studies and sponsoring social events for them. I went on service immersion trips in New Orleans and Appalachia with the Center for Ministry and Service and Health Services, which were eye-opening experiences economically and socially. I am thrilled to be a part of the tight-knit Regis community and to help those in need. Regis gives students a voice and that has really helped me build connections and challenge myself.

When not on campus, I work as a certified nursing assistant at Brightview Senior Living and as a patient care associate at Mass General Brigham Hospital. As an employee at the assisted living facility for two years, I have learned to be patient and aware of others. As for Mass General Brigham, I began working there thanks to a professor at Regis during the COVID-19 outbreak. I was trained on the COVID-19 floor, the OB-GYN floor, and orthopedics floor. My favorite part about working on the COVID floors was when the public address system announced “Operation Hope.” Anyone who was available could go to the reported area to cheer and give support to patients who recovered from COVID-19 as they left the hospital. I was overjoyed to have played a small part in helping the patients return home safely. I must admit I was frightened to work on the COVID floor; I had no idea what to expect. But the nurses and other PCAs helped me and gave me the confidence and encouragement to spark my true potential. Taking time out for others—my Regis life lesson.

As for the future, I intend to further my career and be a physician assistant. Regis has provided me with the right tools to seek out whatever health care career path I choose. With a degree in nursing and neuroscience, and the network of connections that my professors have and that I have already built, the possibilities are endless. I am proud that my Sister Thérèse Higgins scholarship makes it possible for me to attend Regis College and pursue my passion. It truly is a gift that keeps on giving, especially during these most uncertain times. I will be forever grateful and will continue to make Regis Proud. Go Pride!

continue to make Regis proud. Go Pride!


Charlene Hollins"During the pandemic, I am motivated by my patients and their families … Regis taught me that even with limited resources, you can save lives." ~ Charlene C. Hollins, MSN, FNP-C '19

 save lives.








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