Harris College Students Featured in Sesquicentennial Immersive Experience

/ /

 

This January, the BLUU ballroom will be transformed into a special museum-like exhibit showcasing the past, present and future of TCU in honor of its 150th sesquicentennial, The Story of Us: An Immersive TCU Experience.

The final portion of the exhibit focuses on the future of TCU with a desire to highlight the best and brightest from around campus. Get to know the Harris College students who, because of their great potential to make an impact for the greater good, were selected to be featured in the exhibit.

Grace D’Andrea

TCU Nursing

You were hand-selected by Dean Watts as one of Harris College’s future leaders to be highlighted in TCU’s 150th celebration immersion experience. How do you feel?

First, I was confused. I thought to myself, “Why me?” I wondered what I have done to be distinguished in this way in comparison to all my peers who would be excellent and deserving nominees, as well. I am entirely humbled, honored, and thrilled to be highlighted in this historical moment in TCU’s history. With this honor and recognition, I want to be able to highlight that this would not at all be possible without the support I have received from Harris College which directed me to my calling in life to serve others. TCU has made an imprint on my heart and on my future and I am so proud to be a Horned Frog for life and a TCU Nursing alumnus.

We understand your passion is pediatric oncology. Can you tell us about your reasons behind this specialty? 

When I was only 9 years old, a friend in my third-grade class passed away from cancer. At the time, I didn’t understand how someone my age could be so sick and how they could just pass away. From that moment on, my heart wanted to be there for other children in similar circumstances. My experiences in school and my experience as a nurse extern have validated my passion for pediatric oncology patients. In oncology, you see the highs of the highs and the lows of the lows, and every moment spent with a patient and their family is a privilege. Caring for a child with chronic illness allows you to see the child grow and conquer, and I want to provide a comforting experience to them and their families. Those patients and families are the most resilient and inspiring people I have ever met. I want to help alleviate their suffering and hardships and put smiles on their faces.

What motivates you?

My family and future patients are my biggest motivators. I’ve always wanted to make my family proud. I am a third-generation health care professional, following suit of my dad and grandpa. I only wish my grandpa could see how far I have come. He would have loved TCU. My future patients motivate me because I want to be the best nurse I can possibly be for them and do good on their behalf. I want to continuously grow and learn to provide the best evidence-based and compassionate care possible.

What are your hopes for the future of TCU Nursing?

 I hope TCU Nursing continues to provide the exceptional educational experience that I am blessed to have received during my time at TCU. Some of the best instruction I have received at TCU was not from a textbook, but from the delivery of faculty, instructors and professors; the passion in their voices. What differentiates TCU Nursing from other programs is the passion of its mentors. I want TCU Nursing to continue providing these positive experiences; the ones that remind students during midterms or a jam-packed semester that the hard work is worth it. It is one thing to present the required material, but another to light the fire in a student’s heart about the content and excite them for their future. Nursing is a hard profession to go into. Nurses constantly face burnout and, at times, question their career choice. My hope is that TCU Nursing continues advocating for future nurses to take care of themselves first.

How do you wish to make an impact for the greater good?

 Making an impact starts with oneself. Who I am as a person defines who I am as a nurse. I am aware that I will never be fully “competent” in cultures that are not my own, but I know I have cultural humility. As a nurse, I go into care without the assumption of what a person or family’s culture is. I assess by asking a patient or family about their culture and preferences to provide care that is culturally relevant to them. My lifelong passion is to give back to others. My compassion and concern are natural abilities reflected in patient interactions; I’m always searching for ways to leave smiles on patients’ faces and improve their experience. The nurse I want to be is one who provides the same level of care to every human who comes through the doors; I am committed to change and passionately advocate for others. In my life, whether it be through work or in my day-to-day endeavors, I want to always treat others with kindness. My impact for the greater good starts with myself. Every person can make a difference with every choice that is made and through every interaction with others.

#Facts

Hometown: Camarillo, California

Major: Nursing

Graduation date: December 2022

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation, I am moving back to my home state, California, to pursue my dream career at my dream hospital, a pediatric hematology/oncology nurse at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.

Favorite TCU memory: It is so hard to choose a single favorite memory during my four-and-a-half years at TCU. I entered TCU as a different healthcare-related major, before realizing nursing was my true passion. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing in the summer of 2019 when I learned I had been accepted into the TCU Nursing program. This was the moment that would propel my future. Another favorite memory was the Nursing Pinning Ceremony, which was the day before Commencement. Witnessing my classmates walk across the stage to recognize their achievements of earning a BSN and where they would be after graduation made me so proud to be part of the TCU Nursing program. When we were announced as the nursing class of 2022, I became emotional reflecting on all that we have accomplished with the most amazing people.

Why did you choose TCU? TCU had everything I was looking for in a school and future home. I grew up going to football games and visiting the university that my dad and grandpa graduated from. This heavily influenced my decision and what I expected from a university. When I applied, I wanted the full college experience, which to me was being able to go away from home to a beautiful campus and go to sporting events with the friends I would eventually make. TCU had all the aspects of a big university while having a smaller student population, allowing me to feel like I have found my new home very early on. There was a sense of familiarity at TCU, always passing by someone I knew and never feeling alone. This translated into the classroom setting as well, getting to know those in my nursing cohort and always feeling supported by the faculty, instructors and professors in our smaller settings. For some reason, call it my intuition, I knew when I toured TCU that it would soon be my future home.

“She takes risks that others resist. She spearheaded projects in clinical and in concepts courses that involved some uncertainty but were promising, and she was persistent in pursuing a position in pediatric oncology, waiting patiently and hopefully while others were getting job offers.” – Gina Alexander, Associate Professor in TCU Nursing

 

Courtney Trevino

Communication Sciences & Disorders

You were hand-selected by Dean Watts as one of Harris College’s future leaders to be highlighted in TCU’s 150th celebration immersion experience. How do you feel?

It is a true honor that Dean Watts would select me out of so many qualified candidates. I am extremely thankful to each professor and faculty member who has shaped me into the professional and student that I am today.

Can you tell us about your reasons behind the specialty of communication sciences and disorders?

TCU helped me discover this interest and choose this major about 11 years ago. As a first-year student at TCU, I knew that I was interested in working with children with disabilities, but I was unaware of careers that would provide me with that opportunity. The career center at TCU helped me isolate specific interests of mine and recommended speech-language pathology. After taking some courses, I was hooked! I earned my bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Child Development, and I earned my master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from TCU. I am now back at TCU to earn a Ph.D. in Health Sciences with an emphasis on speech-language pathology.

What motivates you?

The opportunity to create change and better outcomes for the children whom I work with motivates me. Additionally, the opportunity to learn and grow as a person and professional is extremely motivating for me.

What can you tell us about your involvement with the CHLLD lab?

I worked under Dr. Emily Lund in the CHLLD lab as a master’s student in TCU’s speech-language pathology program. After graduation, I worked in this lab as an evaluator for a specific research study. Upon my return to TCU as a Ph.D. student, I continued to work in this lab, conducting my own research and supporting the completion of other studies, including Dr. Lund’s major study: ELLA. It has been an honor and privilege to work under Dr. Emily Lund in the CHLLD Lab throughout my TCU career. Her research projects, publications and work ethic are outstanding, and the opportunity to learn from her for years is invaluable. Her mentorship, guidance, and support have changed the trajectory of my career.

What can you tell us about your involvement with NSSLHA Chance to Dance?

As an undergraduate student, I learned about proms and dances for people with disabilities across the country. I was immediately inspired to host a similar event at TCU and connect the TCU community and adults with disabilities. I researched how other organizations planned and held these dances and I collaborated with TCU, my friends, and other companies and organizations to host TCU’s first prom for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the BLUU. With a desire for the prom, called Chance to Dance, to continue after I graduated, I connected with TCU’s NSSLHA chapter, who immediately agreed to plan and host the prom annually. NSSLHA and I worked closely together to host this event the following year. It is an honor that NSSHLA has continued this tradition ever since.

What are your hopes for the future of TCU COSD?

I hope that TCU will continue to develop well-educated, well-rounded speech-language pathologists who know how to think critically to make decisions. Every day in this career is unique; no two children whom we treat are the same. It is vital that clinicians can think critically to make the best decisions for each child whom they treat, ultimately bettering their ability to communicate.

How do you wish to make an impact for the greater good?

Firstly, my area of study primarily focuses on children who do not speak with their mouths. Children can use technology, such as an iPad with an app, to speak aloud for them. I hope to make a significant contribution to the body of research for this population, ultimately bettering outcomes for children who speak using technology. Secondly, I hope to have a significant impact on translating research to practicing speech-language pathologists. I’d like to develop a solution that allows practicing professionals to obtain useful, research-based information in an easy-to-comprehend format that can shape their practices and, ultimately, better outcomes for the clients whom they treat. 

#Facts

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Major: Undergrad: Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Child Development, master’s: Speech-Language Pathology and Ph.D.: Health Sciences with an Emphasis on Speech-Language Pathology

Graduation date: May 2024

What are your plans after graduation? I plan to pursue a career in academia or as a research scientist, conducting research within my area of study. I plan to influence the next generation of speech-language pathologists and support practicing professionals.

Favorite TCU memory: I have such fond memories of planning and hosting the Chance to Dance, especially the first event. Additionally, I am obsessed with TCU football. I’ll always remember the Peach Bowl in 2014 and this past 2022 season. I will never forget this year’s wild win against Baylor and, of course, the playoffs. Go Frogs!

Why did you choose TCU? I wanted something unique and different. I wanted to explore a different area of the country and experience a different culture. TCU was a perfect fit. The school spirit was contagious, and when I came to visit, everyone that I met loved the university. My sister had gone to TCU, so I felt comfortable knowing that I had some family nearby. Coming to TCU is one of the best choices that I have ever made.

“Courtney is a rare triple Frog – she was in my classes as an undergraduate student, has worked in my lab since she was a master’s student, and now as a Ph.D. student. I can say with confidence that she will be a successful researcher. Her writing skills are outstanding, and she has been integral to the completion of projects we work on to help young children develop language skills.” – Emily Lund, Associate Dean for Research at Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences.