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Rear Admiral Margaret Rykowski Found Her Love of Nursing At UW-Milwaukee


Margaret Rykowski always wanted to serve her fellow human beings. 

And for many of us, graduating from the UWM College of Nursing with an RN degree and working in the medical field would have been service enough.

But Rear Admiral (retired) Rykowski had bigger ideas. She joined the Naval Reserve after getting her nursing degree here and lead a dual life as a civilian and navy nurse.

Rykowski was back in Milwaukee last month to visit her alma mater to receive a UWM Foundation Alumni Achievement Award and spoke with Lake Effect's Bonnie North.

"After I got out of nursing school, I [had to] decide what path I was going to take," Rykowski says. "I had seen an ad that said, 'be a Navy nurse, you would be a professional nurse and a patriot.' And I thought, that's for me."

Rear Admiral (retired) Margaret Rykowski is one of only two Navy Rear Admirals, serving for the Reserve Nurse Corps, and one of fewer than 90 women to have been promoted to Admiral in the US Navy. She works as the Nursing Director of San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.