CSF Alumnus on the Front Lines of COVID-19

When CSF Alumnus Tia was in the eighth grade, she got the opportunity to shadow her aunt who was working as an operating room nurse. From that point on, she knew that nursing was what she wanted to do. She never imagined that her dream would lead her to the front lines of a worldwide pandemic as a registered nurse in a Seattle hospital.

Over the last six weeks, Tia has continued working even though she’s eight months pregnant and it’s been hard on her physically and mentally. “My hospital has gone through a lot of changes. We’ve set up tents outside for screening patients and received specialized training on how to care for them,” Tia says. “As an operating room nurse, I feel as though the atmosphere has changed, and at times we’ve had to advocate for ourselves and our own safety.”

Tia has been touched by people’s response to the crisis as they’ve stepped up to donate coffee, face masks and other needed items.

“I am blessed and thankful knowing that I am doing something to make a difference,” she says. “It’s worth all the stress and anxiety of coming to work.”

Tia says CSF’s Leadership 1000 Scholarship was a critical step in her journey to becoming a registered nurse. Donors to the L1000 Scholarship help fund scholarships for high school seniors who are planning to enroll in a Washington state college or university. They also have the opportunity to serve as mentors. One of Tia’s favorite memories was meeting her L1000 benefactor, Helen.

“Having lunch with Helen made me feel like I wasn’t just a random student,” Tia says. “She shared her time and experiences with me. I got a very rare opportunity, and we clicked immediately. She even got to know my family and went to my graduation.”

Because she understands the importance and value of CSF, Tia tries to give back in any way she can. Last year, she volunteered for one of CSF’s career day events at Asa Mercer International Middle School where she shared her experience being a nurse with middle school students interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare field.

“It was fun to see the students put on gowns, gloves and masks and watch their eyes light up when they found out they were holding real operating tools,” she says. “Three students stayed behind after the presentation to talk to me and asked me real, honest questions. I really believe I inspired them and told them the truth about what being a nurse is really like. Sometimes I work 12-hour days and 60-plus hours a week, but it’s worth it because I’m saving people’s lives.”

Tia’s advice to CSF Scholars is to use all the resources that CSF has to offer.

“They’re really there to support you,” she explains. “I went to my CSF advisor at Washington State University a lot because she was able to help me and relate to me. Take advantage of those opportunities!”