What is Photovoice?

Photovoice is a method for understanding perspectives through a photo and an accompanying description. We asked our community to share a photo that captures a meaningful moment related to nursing or the Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) and to explain the image in their own words.


image of a nurse on a wood table

There is magic here.

You feel it all around you and can see it in the photographs that line the walls in Edwards Hall. 100 years of history built on caring and compassion and doing what is necessary. Doing what is right. You hear it in the stories of this community. Stories like the one of Eleanor Eft, a beautiful soul—an alum, a nurse, a mother—who tore the corner of her apron the night WWII ended. Listening to her speak, it struck me that by being here, I am part of something larger than myself. Something worthwhile. In its soft and eversteady way, this college is changing the world.

There is magic here.

—Emily McMahon, director for marketing and recruitment

three friends posing

MCN has given me these two people.

They are a huge part of my everyday life. They are my shoulder to lean on and my biggest supporters. They are there for all of my best, most memorable moment and also for my lowest lows. I can always count on them to be there when life starts feeling overwhelming, which we all know it does too often as a college student. They are better friends than anyone I could ever ask for. I’ve always hoped to find people like them to call my best friends. The friendships you see in movies, my sides kicks, my future bridesmaids. MCN means so much to me because it has given me those people.

—Scarlett Holze, nursing student 

a family of three in stands at a game

Gratitude changes everything.

I am not only grateful for the personal care received by MCN nurses in our health care system but by the opportunities to shape the nursing student journey in subtle and more profound ways. As the associate dean for academic support, I am humbled by the student service team that consistently shows up for the challenge. The work we do matters.  And that matters to me. I am proud to be starting my 23rd year with the college this fall. With passion and purpose, we continue our work!

—Janeen Mollenhauer, associate dean for academic support

girl looking at a woman

My “why” is making a difference. 

I strive to make a difference in the lives of everyone I have the blessing of meeting. Whether I am on a medical mission trip in Costa Rica, or teaching our amazing students about leadership, it is my hope and prayer that I can somehow leave them better than they were before they met me. Sometimes that is helping an individual with a medical-related concern, and sometimes that is coaching a student on their career path as they become a professional registered nurse. Being a nurse is truly have the best “job” in the whole world, and it’s one I am thankful to God for each and every day.

—Valerie Wright, director for undergraduate programs

picture of a couple with a child

My aunt was a graduate of MCN and inspired me. 

My aunt, Cornelia (Ropp) Cramer, was a graduate of the Mennonite School of Nursing Class of 1960. She greatly influenced my decision to be a nurse from the time I was a little girl. When it came time to pick a nursing school, she made it clear to me that I was to apply to colleges. Unfortunately, at that time her alma mater was still a diploma program. She always spoke highly of her education at Mennonite, and she even was very truthful with me about the fact that I would come out of school better prepared if I went to Mennonite, but she pushed me toward a baccalaureate program nonetheless. 

She was there the day I graduated from NIU in 1978, and she was right about two things: I was relatively incompetent that first year of my career, and a B.S.N. set me up for a career that has been exciting, varied and very fulfilling. When I look back, I am amazed (and grateful) that her loyalty toward my future nursing profession won out over her loyalty to her own school, but she, like the Mennonite diploma program, saw the future of nursing. While many diploma programs closed their doors over the past 40 years, Mennonite has survived and thrived. 

Today I am proud to work for the Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State University helping to prepare B.S.N. students for a future nursing career. I am proud to be a part of a team that works very hard to ensure that our students do not graduate as inept as I was when I took my first position as a new graduate! And I know my aunt was very pleased when I took a position here. Aunt Cornelia passed away in 2017, a proud Mennonite alum to the end.

—Marcia Buchs, B.S.N., MA, RN, Coordinator of Nursing Simulation Laboratory

four students holding diplomas

Thanks to MCN, I have met some of my best friends.

We have so many memories from late night studying in the Sim Lab and early morning for clinical. I am so proud to be a student of Mennonite College of Nursing.

—Elise Austin, nursing student

scientist working in a lab

MCN lets me share my passion for research.

I am fortunate that I can share my passion in research with colleagues and students for us to make a difference in our health care, and ultimately, to improve health and wellbeing locally and globally.

—Seon Yoon Chung, Ph.D., associate dean of academics

woman holding girl

Why do I do what I do?

I love spending my career helping students get to their career. Being the undergraduate academic advisor at Mennonite College of Nursing, I often fondly call myself a “mom” to 600-plus undergraduate students. Whether it is in group advising sessions, or one‑on‑one appointments, I enjoy getting to know my students and celebrating their accomplishments or supporting them during struggle. Here is a picture of me as a working mom with my daughter (#FutureRedbird), who helped me in the Nursing Simulation Lab on a Saturday open house event.

Kileigh Guido, undergraduate advisor for Mennonite College of Nursing


This story was originally printed as part of MCN’s 2019 Commemorative Flame MagazineTo view the full magazine, visit the Mennonite College of Nursing website.

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