From study buddies to life partners, as well as allies in their profession, CUAA nursing students Joe Wright and Beckah Bottorff have navigated it in tandem.

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the fall 2022 edition of Hearts Together, a Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor special magazine edition. 

An unplanned transfer to a new university. A trip across the country. An adjustment to a new nursing program, new city, and new community of friends. Joe Wright (’22) and Beckah Bottorff (’22) navigated it all. The silver lining? They did it together.

Wright and Bottorff each rejoiced when they received their acceptance letters to nursing school at Concordia University Portland (CUP) in Oregon during the summer of 2019. During their time at CUP, they struck up a casual friendship. Their bond quickly flourished after the spring of 2020, however, when university officials unexpectedly announced the school would close at the end of the semester.

With their plans upended, the entire CUP student body scrambled to find alternative options. After learning about multiple universities at a huge college fair, Wright, Bottorff, and a few of their friends decided on CUAA. Its close-knit community, technological advances within the program, and the opportunity to travel abroad made it the obvious choice, despite the fact that it would mean relocating to Michigan on short notice.

Their gamble paid off. Now a year in at CUAA, the transplants couldn’t be happier with their decision. Although Wright and Bottorff wouldn’t recommend such an unceremonious life change, the two are quick to admit that nothing galvanizes a pair like a journey into the unknown. A couple months before the move, Wright and Bottorff decided to take their friendship to the next level. In April of the following year, Wright proposed. The two will marry in 2024 after they graduate.

From study buddies to life partners, as well as allies in their profession, the two have navigated it in tandem.

“We’ve already sort of tackled the unknown together,” Bottorff says. “I can’t wait for our adventures to continue.”

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—The fall 2022 Hearts Together magazine hit mailboxes in early October. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, email

— This story is written by Allie Milot, social media manager for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 734-995-7403.

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