Seniors to Remember: Sandra Dickson
Hometown: Newark, NJ
Notable activities: 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship winner; Undergraduate Research Fellow; senior leader and sophomore point guard, 48 Hours; assistant director of Volunteers Corps, AHANA Leadership Council; co-chair, Black History Month Committee; KILN (Keys to Inclusive Leadership in Nursing) Scholar; research assistant, outreach coordinator, Office of AHANA Student Programs; member of Alpha Chi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International.
Post-graduation plans: Dickson will join the New Graduate Nurse Residency Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. She plans to eventually become a nurse practitioner.
Overview: As an Undergraduate Research Fellow, Dickson worked with Connell School of Nursing Assistant Professor Allyssa Harris on a women’s health project and co-presented, with Harris, the research at the National Black Nurses Association’s conference in Orlando. Dickson has worked for three years in the Office of AHANA Student Programs and has been a dedicated member of UGBC’s AHANA Leadership Council. Last year, she led fundraising and logistical efforts for ALC’s annual service trip to Mississippi, where she and other student volunteers served as teaching assistants and tutors, coordinated afterschool activities at a community center and talked to high school students. This year she conducted her community health clinical in Haiti, part of a team of nurses providing care to hundreds of patients a day at mobile medical clinics.
How did your PULSE field placement affect you?
Freshman year I took PULSE with [Adjunct Assistant Professor of Philosophy] Mary Troxell. My placement was at Samaritans, working the hotline. It was such an amazing learning experience. When I thought about marginalized populations, I had always thought about the poor. Here the marginalized had mental health issues, and it didn’t matter if you were young or old or rich or poor. The callers were in crisis and my job was to listen.
I really learned the power of listening. It helped me later be a better nurse in my clinical settings. It also made me realize I was so privileged because at the end of the day, I had roommates I could talk to. That experience really set the tone for my four years at BC.
Talk about your experience as a team leader for the Office of First Year Experience’s 48 Hours retreat for freshmen.
As a senior leader, I gave a talk about friends and relationships. I came [to the US] from Ghana when I was nine years old and in the fourth grade. I talked about how I found my way out of being bullied through academics.
Who have been some of your most influential professors or staff members?
Everyone at the Office of AHANA Student Programs has been so supportive. I took [Sociology Associate Professor] Shawn McGuffey’s Race, Class and Gender class and I learned so much. [Undergraduate Admission Associate Director] Howard Singer has help me and been so supportive of me. Allyssa Harris has been more than just a professor and advisor. She has been a mother figure to me, pushing me to challenge myself. [CSON Associate Dean] Cathy Read has been phenomenal. She has definitely made a difference in my life.
How has BC made a difference in your life?
I think differently now than I did before I came to BC. My perspective has evolved and matured. I view the world in a different light. I can more easily see the other side of things. Where I come from [Ghana], we believe that “it takes a village to raise a child,” and BC has played a role. I look at health care through a social justice lens. BC has added to the values my family had already taught me.
What will you miss most about BC?
My mentors. All the opportunities that are here to volunteer or to have day-to-day encounters where I have real conversations with people about things like women’s issues or race. I will miss the school pride. When I tell people I go to BC, or they see me wearing a BC t-shirt, I always hear something positive. That feels good.