The american dream: from Russia to Appalachia

Published 11:05 am Tuesday, August 28, 2018

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Mariya (Polosukhina) Brock was 15 years old when she boarded a plane from Russia to travel to Middlesboro, Kentucky, as part of the Rotary Exchange program. Now, thirteen years later, Mariya is pursuing her Associate of Science in Nursing at Lincoln Memorial University-Caylor School of Nursing (LMU-CSON) just across the Kentucky border, in Harrogate, Tennessee.

Mariya arrived in the United States in 2005 and attended Middlesboro High School for a year. After graduation, she returned to her home in Russia, only to stay for one month. Her parents bought her a one-way ticket back to the United States.

“It was kind of like, here’s your chance, use it,” Mariya said.

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Mariya wanted to go to college but could not afford it at the time, so she took a break and ended up meeting her future husband, Baylen Brock.

Mariya remembers visiting the LMU campus for the first time 13 years ago with her host family and thinking, “One day, I want to come study here.” When the opportunity to go to LMU presented itself, she said she “grabbed it with both hands and ran with it.”

She had never considered a career in nursing. “Nursing in Russia and nursing here are two different things,” Mariya said. While living in the U.S. she met many people who had attended nursing school that helped change her mind.

“Here in the United States, nursing is a well-respected field that I will always be able to find a job in,” she said.

In the short time she has been at LMU, Mariya has made the Dean’s List four semesters in a row and has received three endowed scholarships for which she is very proud. This summer, Mariya has been completing an externship at Harlan ARH Hospital.

“Thanks to the Caylor School of Nursing, I was prepared for my externship and able to dive right in,” Mariya said. “As weird as it may sound to some, I can’t wait to be going back for fall semester. It is no doubt challenging, but I love every minute of it. I love my classmates. I love the atmosphere. I love the classes. I am happy I chose to attend the Caylor School of Nursing.”

Nursing is the largest undergraduate major at LMU. Enrollment in the CSON has increased exponentially over the last decade with the addition of new programs and concentrations. The CSON offers a variety of degree options to meet nurses’ career goals including the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), the RN-BSN, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at