Student Success
Robert Morris University
Bowman, Gibbons, and Snyder

“When we were trying to navigate the process of opening a practice, RMU faculty offered a lot of support and guidance. Psychiatry is a small community where we all know one another and a lot of the colleagues we know teach at RMU, so it is a blended community in that way.”

It is not uncommon for a Robert Morris alum to open their own business. Entrepreneurship is at the heart of RMU. But three alumni owning and operating a business together? That is exactly what nurse practitioners Jennifer Bowman M‘06 M‘14 D‘14, Collette Gibbons ‘20, and Natalie Snyder ‘19 are doing at Southpointe Psychiatry and Wellness, a psychiatric out-patient private practice. So, how did these three meet?

“I listened to her [Bowman] do a talk at RMU and I loved it,” Gibbons said, “I was looking for a new job and I reached out to her [Bowman] and just so happened that she was starting a new job and she brought me in. It was all the connections we had through Robert Morris and the alumni–we know we could reach out to Robert Morris to find other NPs (Nurse Practitioners).”

“We first got together in a working environment–we all worked together at another practice where we were doing what we do now.” Snyder said, “We had a lot in common, we got along well, and got to talking about what we’d like to do in the future and where we’d like to see ourselves down the road–we all had a mutual connection as far as wanting to start our own practice and wanting to move out on our own, which helped us grow and develop our relationships’ with each other… We also have the common thread of wanting to help people with mental health issues and learning how we could make a bigger difference in the community…”

The trio opened Southpointe Psychiatry and Wellness in December 2023. The practice focuses on psychiatric evaluations, medication management, and supportive therapies. Since then, their business has flourished and they now have nearly 1,000 patients.

“We see anybody with any problem, whether that be anxiety or ADHD… we try to work with therapists and function to suggest adding medications based on symptoms , but also, in addition, we work with therapists and several groups that we work with to promote good living and wellness,” Bowman said.

Jennifer always had hopes of opening her own business. Once she met Collette and Natalie, those dreams became a reality. 

“I’ve been a nurse for almost 30 years now and a nurse practitioner for about 10 years, but I have always dreamed about having a business,” Bowman said, “My dad and my aunt owned businesses and my grandfather started a business, and I always thought, ‘it’d be nice if I could do that.’ But when I was younger and started nursing, I had children and I didn’t want to do it alone, so it wasn’t really feasible… But people come into your life for a reason… I had met Collette and Natalie, and it was the timing–I was ready… it just felt like it was the right time to do it and I found the right people to do it with, so I think that had a big part in starting this.”

At Southpointe Psychiatry and Wellness, their goal is to change the way people see psychiatric services and work together for the betterment of their patients.

“We were just talking about how each of us brings something different to the table and I think that’s why we work so well together,” Gibbons said, “We know each other’s weaknesses and our strengths, so I think we feed off of each other. That’s been helpful since the three of us have never started our own business before–it was a huge learning curve. But, as nurse practitioners, we’ve always believed in collaboration, so we have always been able to sit down, chat, and be open with our ideas and be honest with each other about how to work together.”

Bowman, Gibbons, and Snyder are all alumni of Robert Morris University and have collectively received numerous degrees and certifications, which has helped them grow their network.

“I went for my business degree first…I thought I’d go more of the business side of nursing or be a manager, but when I went into the nurse practitioner program at RMU, I found so many connections,” Bowman said, “there are many colleagues I still talk to to this day and I graduated about 10 years ago. I think that really makes a difference–we’ve mentored students from Robert Morris as a way of not only giving back, but also to help people breaking into the profession.”

When Bowman, Gibbons, and Snyder were first looking to open their business, they asked many colleagues for advice including their peers and professors from RMU.

“We always have the opportunity to reach out to any of the faculty at RMU because we have their emails and we’re friends with many of them.” Snyder said, “When we were trying to navigate the process of opening a practice, RMU faculty offered a lot of support and guidance. Psychiatry is a small community where we all know one another and a lot of the colleagues we know teach at RMU, so it is a blended community in that way.”

Southpointe Psychiatry and Wellness looks at Robert Morris students not only to give back to their community, but also, because of the strong reputation of RMU’s nurse practitioner program.

“I think the biggest difference is the program’s reputation at RMU is significant in the Pennsylvania region,” Gibbons said, “and that makes a difference where they’re going to school when we are looking to hire later on or if a student wants to precept with us… we know that RMU students have that educational background to where we know they will be good to work with. RMU’s nurse practitioner program is strong at RMU compared to other nurse practitioner programs right now and, for me, that’s what the difference is. Also, I think RMU students are more focused in their studies since a lot of them are commuters or transfer students and they’re more serious about their studies.”

“The [RMU] students I had were eager to learn,” Bowman said, “That made me eager to teach them–the more they wanted to learn, the more effort I put into spending more time with them. When we precept, we want them to be safe out there because this is a hard field… we prescribe a lot of medicines, so you have to be prepared and know what you’re doing…”

Although it has been a few years since any of them have taken an RMU course, the three business owners recall when they graduated from RMU and how the program taught them to be successful at the next level.

“I remember our professor getting a preceptor, for example–there are a lot of programs that don’t do that for students, but our professor did that for us and made sure we were with the right person,” Bowman said, “I was all the way out in Ohio for a preceptor, so this was an area where I felt weak and just trying to help students be prepared and safe for when you leave at the end of the day since we see kids through adults. When I graduated, I felt good and like I was ready to go.”

“I graduated from Ohio State, so I came from a large community, but going to school at RMU was totally different,” Gibbons said, “I liked the small class sizes because you got to know your peers and your professors, but at Ohio State, it was rare to talk to your professor on a one-on-one basis. I felt comfortable reaching out to any of my RMU professors with questions about jobs or a certain specialty and they’d respond back, which was a huge difference between Robert Morris and Ohio State.”

“The program was good for my schedule, being a professional and still working, it accommodated the adult-learner” Snyder said, “The way the program was structured seemed to keep that in mind and I appreciated that.”

May is mental health awareness month, so Bowman, Gibbons, and Snyder had advice to soon-to-be alumni and current students who are about to graduate or who may, one day, want to start their own business.

“Do your homework and just be prepared for whatever climate or area you’re looking to launch your career or business at,” Snyder said, “Find out the needs in the area and fill the need. Starting a business is ultimately filling a need, so whatever you’re niche is, determining if that is something that is going to be the right fit… having a good team of resources or connections to help you do it–you can’t do it on your own since starting a business is a very time consuming process, so being able to accept help from others and making sure you know what you want to do and that you have that drive to do it for the rest of your life.”

“I have young kids that have gone through college and it was difficult for them to reach out to alumni even though the school’s they went to offered that,” Gibbons said, “Young kids may not have the confidence to ask for alumni help, so it would be cool to see alumni in the RMU community to reach out to these young people would be helpful.”

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