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Future Nurse Inspires Those Around Him


Wagner Lainez-Pelico 1

MOUNT OLIVE— Although Wagner Lainez-Pelico didn't set out to inspire those around him, his actions and efforts have certainly left their mark.


At 21, Wagner Lainez-Pelico exhibits the essence of drive and ambition. His journey began in 2013 when he moved from Central America to the United States. This transition marked the start of an extraordinary path that led him to the University of Mount Olive (UMO), a place where he has found both academic success and personal growth.


When Lainez-Pelico first arrived in North Carolina, he was plunged into an entirely new culture with differences in nearly every aspect of life. Despite the hurdles he faced, his adaptability and resolve were evident as he dedicated himself to mastering English, excelling in school, and reaching the goals that he set for himself as a child. The support he received from his teachers, mentors, and peers was invaluable, helping him navigate and eventually thrive in this new environment.


“My teachers went above and beyond to ensure that I not only succeeded in my studies but had the opportunities needed to set me on a path of success for college and beyond,” Lainez-Pelico said.


Progressing on his educational journey, Lainez-Pelico graduated from North Duplin High School in 2021, and from UMO in the spring of 2023 with his associate’s degree in pre-nursing. Currently, he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at UMO.

For Lainez-Pelico, nursing is more than a profession. It is a strategic step toward a larger ambition of attending medical school. He views the nursing field as a crucial foundation for his future medical career. Fueled by his passion for serving others, Lainez-Pelico said “I love to help people, and nursing is a great way for me to do that.”


“Wagner is a dedicated, hardworking student who exhibits compassion and empathy in all his patient care interactions,” said Kristin Mozingo, UMO Director of the Nursing Simulation Laboratory and Assistant Professor of Nursing. “He goes above and beyond to help his fellow classmates and is always willing to help his instructors and the nursing department in any way he can.”


The foundation of Lainez-Pelico’s success can be traced back to his parents. From a young age, they instilled in him a strong work ethic, encouraging him to strive for excellence in all aspects of his life. This ethos, coupled with their relentless support, has shaped Wagner into the person he is today. “There’s no way I could have gotten to where I am now without their help,” Lainez-Pelico said.


Not only has Lainez-Pelico excelled academically, but he has also shown a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit. He owns and operates a photography and videography business, a venture that speaks to his versatility and drive. Balancing business with academics, he navigates the challenges and celebrates the successes that come with owning a business. According to Lainez-Pelico, the best part is “seeing how happy people are when they see the finished product.”

Wagner Lainez-Pelico 2

Furthermore, Lainez-Pelico’s commitment to service is highlighted by his achievement of becoming an Eagle Scout, an honor that underscores his dedication to community service and leadership. Even now, years after completing his own Eagle Scout project, Lainez-Pelico regularly volunteers his time and skills to help other Scouts whenever he can. Since his freshman year, he has also volunteered his photography skills with the UMO Marketing and Communications Department, covering numerous events on campus. UMO Director of Public Relations, Rhonda Jessup, said: “Wagner is such a gifted young man with a desire to help those around him.”


Wagner's impact extends beyond his academic achievements. His involvement in the community and volunteer work have significantly influenced the local area. He stands as a role model, especially for first-generation college students facing language and cultural challenges. His future goals, including plans to attend medical school, are driven by his vision to make a difference in healthcare and his desire to serve those in need.


“I’m not trying to inspire anyone, I’m just a kid chasing his dream,” Lainez-Pelico shared, reminding us that often, the most remarkable achievements stem from simple, heartfelt aspirations.


The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University was founded by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists. For more information, visit www.umo.edu.


—Article and Photos by Grayson Morgan, Student Intern

—Rhonda Jessup, Director of Public Relations, UMO


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