Entrance Torch

Unexpected Discoveries: Nursing student gains cultural awareness while pursuing passion for global health care

When Kelsey Fader ’16 first stepped foot on Valpo’s campus, she had no idea just how her passions would collide. But that is exactly what happened soon after she began her academic journey, and along the way, she made some unexpected discoveries.

A recipient of the Donna and Lonnie Dodge Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund, Kelsey studies rigorously as a part of the nursing program in the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

“Receiving a scholarship and knowing others are supporting me pushes me to work harder,” says Kelsey.

In addition to her studies in nursing, Kelsey is active in Engineers Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization that supports community-driven development programs worldwide. Students collaborate with local partners to design and implement sustainable engineering projects, while creating transformative experiences and responsible leaders.

Kelsey’s extension beyond her studies in nursing to understand the foundation of engineering is a unique combination.

“Engineers Without Borders has allowed Kelsey to participate in both global health and research well before taking the courses in the nursing curriculum,” says Amy Cory, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing and advisor of Engineers Without Borders. “Once she reaches these courses, she will have an understanding of the content above and beyond the level of most of her peers.”

The student organization is currently working with a village in rural Nicaragua to rehabilitate their water distribution system. Their group hopes to eventually build a new water storage tank that receives overflown water from their existing tank. In November, Kelsey had the opportunity to travel with the group for assessment.

“It’s been an amazing experience to be part of the beginning stages of this project,” says Kelsey. “What drew me to Engineers Without Borders is its strong dedication to help those in need, which is the main reason I wanted to become a nurse in the first place.”

Along with helping those in need, Kelsey’s experience in Engineers Without Borders has provided her invaluable exposure to other cultures, which has enriched her education. She says that her interactions with people from diverse backgrounds, both abroad and on campus, has been transformative.

“Her work with Engineers Without Borders has prepared her to work with patients from a variety of cultural backgrounds,” says Professor Cory.

Kelsey plans to carry her newfound cultural awareness with her in her studies and into her future career as a nurse after graduation.

“These experiences have been critical for me as a nursing student, because it’s important to take a patient’s background into consideration when providing care for them,” says Kelsey. “Through nursing, other classes, and Engineers Without Borders, I’ve had the opportunity to develop my understanding of different cultures and deepen my sensitivity for others here at Valpo.”