With her mind set on becoming a pediatrician, Krystal Lockett graduated from the Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) in 2009 with a degree in Biomedical Sciences and a minor in Spanish. But she soon discovered a passion for nursing.

Soon after graduation, she joined the service organization AmeriCorps, working in Mobile with the Area Agency on Aging. She enjoyed it so much that she signed on for another year and worked at a primary care clinic in a rural town in Louisiana. Through these experiences, Lockett saw her passion for healthcare broaden.

“All of these years that I took off from pursuing what I’m doing now was making me into who I am,” Lockett said. 

“When I worked the second year for AmeriCorps, I realized the people that are out in the community doing the things I really love are the nurses. They were the ones taking the time out with the patients and doing all of these outreach activities that I just love.”

In 2014 Lockett earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of South Alabama and also earned her undergraduate degree in Foreign Languages in Literature (Spanish). Lockett said studying abroad in Spain as an undergraduate student at Auburn in 2008 is what drew her to Spanish culture.

“I truly believe the African American culture and the Latino culture have so many similarities as well as similar barriers, such as access to healthcare, discrimination, and different things we face in our history,” Lockett said.

“I wanted to be able to speak to the Latino population and help decrease health disparities.”

After working as a nurse at the University of South Alabama Medical Center for almost two years, Lockett
went back to school to earn her Master of Science in Nursing, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse

She then worked as a travel nurse throughout Mississippi, Louisiana and California until she felt called to her current job as a nurse practitioner for Wexford Health Sources, the healthcare agency contracted with the Alabama Department of Corrections. Lockett provides health care services at Fountain Correctional Facility, a male prison in Atmore, Ala. She also travels to the prison work camp in Mobile twice a week and recently earned her doctoral degree in nursing.

Looking back on her time as a student at Auburn, Lockett said she enjoyed participating in the Summer Bridge program, serving as a COSAM Leader, and learning from Dr. Lawrence Wit’s Mammalian Physiology class.

“His class was very challenging and it prepared me for a career in medicine,” she said. “There were no shortcuts, there was no easy way out. Whether we were COSAM Leaders or not, he still treated us all the same. He taught his class in a very interesting way. It helped feed that passion for medicine and helped prepare me for my current career.”

Lockett said she feels it is important for undergraduate students to understand that they are paving the way for future generations.

“Everyone gets caught up in trying to build their career, but at the end of the day we still need to give back and make sure we’re leaving a legacy,” she said. “It’s not just about the recognition of our names, but it’s about leaving a legacy for the next generation so they can have something to learn from us.”