Learning from the past

Alumni weekend.
Making connections, sharing
in the legacy.

This weekend, the JHUSON hosted an event for alumni, and I was one of several student volunteers to attend the gathering.  I was nervous about meeting the alums, but also anxious to hear their stories and to share in their experiences.  At one point during the event, I realized that I was surrounded by more than 1,000 years of collective nursing experience.  Graduates from as far back as 1940 were in attendance, and there were several alumnae from the class of  1960 celebrating their 50th reunion.  As I mingled among the women, I heard them joyfully reminisce about their time at Hopkins: the classes, the uniforms, their classmates, and their time in Baltimore.  It was an honor to meet and talk with them and to show them around the SON building.

My personal highlight, however, was meeting Linda Tarr-Whelan.   During the cocktail reception on Friday evening, I made an inquiry to Dean Martha Hill about any alumnae that had been or were currently involved in global health care, which is my area of focus at JHU.  She told me to seek out Miss Tarr-Whelan, who had worked as Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.  I found her and introduced myself, and I shared with her my plan of working in global and humanitarian health care.  She mentioned some international organizations that I might consider for the future and she then advised me to always speak with my own voice, to always speak passionately, and to pursue leadership positions when available.  During her keynote address Saturday morning, she emphasized the need for women to assume leadership roles and to network with other professional organizations such as the ANA and AORN to develop our leadership skills.

I left the event with a signed copy of her book and with the inspiration to shape myself into a leader within the nursing world.  I’m humbled to be part of this legacy.

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