Katie Nolan- 4th Yr Bachelor of Honors Specialization in Health Science
What do you think makes our program standout?
When I chose this program for its incredible resume, I had no idea how poetically it would speak to my values. The program has put together a dynamic list of courses outlining logistics of health care delivery here in Canada, demonstrating social determinants of health, and exploring structural and functional components of the human body. On top of these incredibly informative options, the program is designed for students to develop an understanding of global health and the complex implications of social phenomena. While I have received a thorough education of concepts, what stands out to me is that I have been able to explore these dimensions and how they truly apply on a global scale.
What type of extra-curricular activities have you been involved in?
I have been extremely fortunate to remain highly involved throughout my academic career. From an employment perspective, I have maintained a job with Community Living London for quite a while now. Through this position, I offer support for individuals with developmental disabilities in a respite care setting. My passion for developmental services has brought me to work in Ethiopia with CH Global, as well as to the Global Access Conference in California. Although my job with Community Living London can take up to forty hours per week of my time, I also model for a local agency. Although there isn’t much of a fashion market in London, it’s definitely a fun side job!
On campus, I have taken on the role of a residence and faculty soph, as well as participated as a general member in multiple clubs and events. In my first year I even had the opportunity to travel to Honduras with Habitat for Humanity to build a home for the most lovely family! Recently, I took a break from my agency and had the honor participate in the annual Purple Spur Fashion Show, benefiting the London Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
The Health Achieve Conference held in Toronto was another highlight, and I was accompanied by a few of the most outstanding members of the School of Health Studies. Research concerning exercise for older adults, to which I contributed, was recently featured at the Western Student research conference. In April I will be traveling to Toronto with my colleagues to deliver this research in form of presentation at the Ontario Gerontology Association’s annual conference. My time at Western has been absolutely filled with wonderful opportunities and incredible memories.
Through all your activities, what is your favourite part of the week?
The work that I do through Community Living London is my favourite part of the week, and it has become a crucial part of my identity. Each and every shift I have the opportunity to enable the pursuits of others and witness incredible moments of success. I first got involved in this type of work back in Ottawa, where I received training and certification in gastrostomy tube feeding and other technical skills. I worked for four months at the Ottawa Rotary home providing respite care for medically fragile children with exceptional needs. When I came to London, I knew that Community Living London would be the only logical next step for me!
Where do you draw inspiration from?
The people I work for give me the vast majority of my inspiration. Faced with hardships most could never understand, these people make leaps and bounds every day. It is incredibly moving to bear witness to the resilience and capacity of this population; it has taught me that not only does every single human inherently carry the ability to life a fulfilling life, but that everyone has the capacity to contribute to society as an equal.
What do you do to be healthy?
While health starts with balanced nutrition, I have to admit that you can find me with a slice of Stobie’s pizza probably all too often. When I’m not at work or at home with my AMAZING roommates and my (very cuddly) cat, you can find me at the Rec Centre - girls can lift, people! While diet and exercise is important, social and mental health upkeep is a major component of my well-being repertoire as well. I work every day to maintain my mental health, and my social-emotional health is strengthened by interactions with all of the incredible friends and family that I have in my life.
What kind of career goals are you headed towards?
Through my employment in developmental services, I have developed a strong passion for clinical care in combination with client-care provider relationship. Ideally, I hope to be a midwife one day. It would be such an honor to be a part of the most beautiful aspect of life as a career! The concept of partnering with parents as they undergo the miracle of childbirth is absolutely mind-blowing to me, especially with the privilege of working side-by-side and step-by-step with families throughout this exciting time. For now, I am hoping to be accepted into the Compressed Time-Frame Nursing program to eventually pursue a subsequent Midwifery degree or Master’s in Nursing, to become a Nurse Practitioner. In the meanwhile, I am contemplating deferring for a year to work and pursue my modeling career in Toronto - the sky is the limit!
Do you have any advice for other Health Studies Students?
Take advantage of everything that the program and the campus have to offer; it is way too easy to be complacent and it won’t do you any favors. No other time in your life will you be surrounded by such an expansive realm of stimulating opportunities or brilliant people.