Sidney Saylor recently graduated from the community health promotion program at Illinois State. She was activated in the Illinois Army National Guard, working as a medic in the fight against COVID-19. Saylor’s passion for health care started in high school when she received her National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) license.
“I’ve always known that health care is my passion; however, it took me a while to decide which path of healthcare I would take,” she said. Her journey at Illinois State started in the nursing program before she pivoted to the community health promotion program. Although she wasn’t sure what the program fully entailed, she was glad to not take another chemistry class.
Reiterating her experience in the program, “I took my first class in the human disease major with Christy Bazan. I had never met a teacher who cared so much about her students and the work. I thought maybe that was just her, but as I started to take more classes with the other professors, I began to realize this empathy and passion was a characteristic of the people who worked in health promotion or as health educators. I realized that I also had this same energy towards the work of community health promotion. I knew then I had made the right decision.”
Describing her role with the Illinois Army National Guard, “as the medic, it is my duty to first and foremost care for the soldiers on my team. I need to ensure their safety and health so that the mission can keep moving forward. My second role is to educate the public on how to perform their own nasal swab and properly enclose the sample to be tested. These duties may seem like a small role, but I believe they are a vital part of the mission in this fight against COVID-19. I am proud to be a part of the mission and serve the public. I love being able to use the knowledge of my major to help communicate effectively with the patients I am assisting. I also feel that I am able to stay better informed during this pandemic, because of my degree. It’s a great feeling knowing that the skills I learned at ISU in my major have assisted me during such an important mission.” Following this, Saylor will be working as a community educator and looks forward to volunteering more within the community.
Saylor is not only a community health promotion graduate; she has become an advocate for the program. “The major has a lot to offer. There are study-abroad opportunities, conferences, as well as opportunities to work directly within the community. These opportunities allow you to network with some of the most inspiring and motivating people. Take advantage of these and learn as much as you possibly can from them. You will also get hands-on real experiences that will make a difference for your community. Take them seriously and strive to make a good impact. Lastly, the professors in this major will go above and beyond to help you along your path. Listen to them and have faith in their guidance. They will prepare you for your future.”
Finally, Saylor is thankful to her professors—Dr. Jacqueline Lanier, Dr. Alicia Wodika, Dr. Megan Weemer, Dr. Jim Broadbear, Mrs. Christy Bazan and others who contributed to her Illinois State journey and impacted her career. “You have helped me to evolve into the professional I hope to become.”