MCCN student Yuliya Fonin attended the Propel Ohio Collegiate Leadership Summit, hosted by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown at The Ohio State University on Friday, October 16.
Propel Ohio is a one-day leadership program that seeks to promote civic engagement and inspire and empower undergraduate students to grow into civic leaders in Ohio. The event actively engages with college students on specific challenges that Ohio is currently facing, including food security, mental health and human trafficking.
The Carmel Rapper asked Fonin about her experience at the event.
What inspired you to apply for Propel Ohio?
In May 2014, I traveled to Washington D.C. with Campus Ministry and I had the opportunity to speak to our U.S. senators about current healthcare issues in Columbus. I was hoping that Senator Sherrod Brown and I could begin where we had left off with more recent healthcare issues. Dr. Ellen O'Shaughnessy, the director of Campus Ministry, truly motivated me to apply.
What types of activities did you take part in at the event?
During Propel Ohio, Sherrod Brown delivered a speech of purpose, describing why this event exists. The involvement of the young people of today is crucial to change in Ohio, as it is in any other state. Former Governor Bob Taft added his ideas of change in the three major topics of discussion that day: mental health, food security and human trafficking. Later, a representative for each topic briefly presented their issues and replied to questions. After lunch, we listened to a highly motivated speaker who changed her community and she inspired us to make change within our communities. Finally, the students were divided into groups and assigned to attend 30-minute sessions regarding each of the three topics. Each group was also assigned to rotate through an internship fair, where I learned about multiple volunteering opportunities that I could bring back to MCCN.
What were your key takeaways from the event?
I learned how to take action to prevent mental health, food security and human trafficking issues. I learned how to intervene, and most importantly, I was given resources to help our community fight against these issues.
How do you think your experience at Propel Ohio will impact your nursing career?
My experience here has given me the tremendous advantage of knowledge. I know what to tell a person who is going through a mental health crisis. I know where to direct a person without healthy food and I know how to recognize a victim of modern day slavery. It is important to note that these issues are not always obvious. The 300-pound patient with no money and no grocery store within walking distance does not seem to be a victim of a food desert. The depressed patient is incredibly skilled at hiding his/her misery. The slave has willingly succumbed to his/her captor. I know how to begin helping these patients receive the care they need, even after they leave the four walls of a hospital room.
As a nurse, I will also be a teacher, not only to my patients, but also to my colleagues. I will teach them how to make the change that we want to see in Ohio. One person truly can make a difference, no matter how minuscule.