What is your background?: I am originally from Cedar Falls but moved to Iowa City in 2006 to begin high school. I went to City High School in Iowa City and graduated in 2009. I am the only child from my parents, Jim and Barbara. My parents are both graduates of UNI, and as of May 2023 I joined them as an alumnus and a legacy student.
What brought you to Kirkwood and why?: My mother was a professor at Kirkwood for 11 years, in the biology department. When I was younger I would spend time on campus with her and grew very fond of the climate that Kirkwood had to offer. In addition the high level of expertise from every professor at Kirkwood was appealing especially when compared to the cost. It was very important for me to receive a well respected education at a cost that was not exponential.
What is your program of study and what interests you about it?: My program of study at Kirkwood is respiratory care, and if I say every aspect that interests me we will be here all day! Jokes aside, respiratory care has been an interest of mine since I was a nursing assistant back in 2011 at UIHC. I will never forget the first time I saw an RT come to our surgical oncology unit to help a patient with a trach, and how relieved that patient was once they felt they could breathe well again. After leaving UIHC I moved out of state and became an EMT, where I quickly learned that if the patient was not breathing, there was no other intervention that was more important. That solidified my interest in pursuing a degree in respiratory therapy. Having worked in a level 1 trauma center emergency room all through the Covid-19 pandemic, I knew without a doubt I wanted to be that person who was able to help others do something that so many of us don’t even think about doing, until we are unable; breathe. That is the epitome of why I find respiratory care to be such an interesting program.
Are you involved in anything else on campus? If so, what and why?: I am a student representative on the respiratory therapy advisory board that meets twice a year, as well as employed on campus as a simulation technician in the Katz Family Healthcare Simulation Center. I am on the respiratory therapy advisory board because I feel it is crucial that as students our voices are represented for students, by students. It also allows for communication to flow better back to our cohort when it can be presented by a peer.
The reason I chose to work in the simulation center was due to my interest in all aspects of Allied Health at Kirkwood. I work directly with the nursing program, all facets of EMS from EMT to Paramedic, as well as the occupational therapy assistant program. Having first hand experience with the scenarios these programs encounter in the simulation center gives me a better understanding of how my role as a future respiratory therapist ties in as these are specialties I will work closely with in the hospital setting.
Are you involved in anything off of campus?: Until May I was dual-enrolled at The University of Northern Iowa in a distance bachelor’s program. I received my Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies on May 13th. Now that I am able to only focus on my education at Kirkwood, I have accepted a position as a student respiratory therapy tech at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids that will begin in August. I believe this will give me valuable hands-on experience that will only enhance what I am learning every day in class and at my clinical rotations.
What do you do for fun?: Truly anything outdoors. I am often at Kent State Park in Tiffin/Oxford or Lake Macbride in Solon, either hiking or fishing. In addition to being outside 95% of my free time, I enjoy reading (when I am able to read something that isn’t a respiratory therapy textbook) as well as attending live music or traveling to see my mom, as she now lives in Michigan.
Where do you see yourself in five years?: In 5 years I see myself happily employed as a respiratory therapist, with additional certifications behind my name. My initial goal is to receive my ACCS, adult critical care specialty certification. I would like to be at a mid-size community hospital, which will most likely be here in Eastern Iowa, but definitely still in the Midwest if I do move to a new state. I hope in 5 years I will have also welcomed a puppy into my life, something I know my partner is very excited for, but something I also know is not feasible while I am still in school.