Response Magazine

Alyssa Singh

Alyssa SinghNurse for Seattle Public Schools, Executive Director for Imani Care International

Seattle

Nursing major 2012

Singh is just beginning a new adventure as a school nurse for Seattle Public Schools. She previously spent three years working as a pediatric hematology/oncology nurse in California. She also started a nonprofit called Imani Care International in 2012, and is currently its director. Their mission, she says, is to partner with Kenyan-run health clinics in the slums of Nairobi. For that, she travels to Kenya once a year.

How does your time at SPU connect to the work you’re doing today?

Everything that I do now connects back to the mission at SPU of “engaging the culture, changing the world.” Imani Care International is ALL about partnership. We start by getting to know the people there — the health care providers, the patients, those who have spent their entire lives in that context and culture. Only from there can we begin the conversation of how we change things. I hope to bring that same perspective to school nursing. I can’t come in and act like I know these students and parents, teachers, and staff. I have to start by building a relationship, by listening, by engaging. Additionally, SPU challenged me to have a faith of my own. Not the faith of my parents or of the church I grew up in, but my own personal relationship with Christ.

Who made a difference in your SPU education?

There are many who have had a lasting impact, but I have to mention Carol McFarland, one of my nursing professors. She was so much more than a teacher. I struggled a lot with anxiety during nursing school and one day in the skills lab, she sat us all down, played a song called “Blessings” and invited us to reflect on where we were at — not just academically, but spiritually, emotionally, mentally. She had some prompts that we answered on a note cards. The experience was so moving for so many of us, because it was a tangible example of how much our professors cared about us beyond the classroom, beyond our grades. I was in such a tough spot in that moment and Carol reached out her hands and her heart to walk alongside me through the storm. She said she would be praying for us and I know she said many prayers for me.

What advice do you have for students about life after graduation?

Hold on to the core people – the people that know you, encourage you, challenge you, and believe in you. Humbly ask for advice. Reconnect with things you are passionate about, that you neglected during college. If you are able, take some time to pursue something you love – even if it is not the financially responsible option. Continue to learn, even if it looks a lot different than being in school.

 

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