MBU Online student Josh Smith has opened a daycare center for the children of first responders and health care workers. His classmate Fouzia Ishtiaq has coordinated volunteers through her own non-profit organization to help cook and provide meals for the elderly. Kerry Mills, assistant professor in art history and MBU Online adviser is also delivering meals to first responders, health care workers on duty, people who are in quarantine, and families with a loved one in the hospital.
Women’s soccer player Defne Kahraman, alumna Linda Fogle Newsom ’80, a team of MBU health sciences students, and many more of you are busy sewing masks for medical personnel. MBU has donated hand sanitizer, hand soap, safety glasses, disposable gloves, and disposable lab coats to our local hospital system Augusta Health.
We’re supporting one another in remarkable ways as we make the shift to online learning. Associate Professor of Art Jim Sconyers mailed art supplies to each of his students (including those overseas) for his photography and silkscreening classes and then created and shared virtual how-to videos for them. Faculty and staff of the physician assistant (PA) program packed and shipped at-home lab kits for the classes of 2021 and 2022 so they can continue their work at home without missing a beat. Alumna Erin Collins ’00, vice president for state affairs at National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, made a guest appearance in three of Laura van Assendelft’s political sciences classes to talk with students about lobbying.
Seniors Tamia Baker-Johnson and Francesca Bergeret have continued their local internships remotely. Many health sciences students are able to perform their required field work through the technology of telemedicine. And of course, scores of our nursing students and alumni and PA alumni are on the front lines treating COVID-19 patients each day all over the country.
Finally, as many of you have seen in the news this week, MBU is partnering with Valley Mission to provide temporary housing in Tullidge Residence Hall to 30 homeless clients in an effort to reduce the risk of infection among Mission residents, and the community at large.
For me, these stories are sustaining, and I hope they are for you, too. They are a reminder that we are all empowered to pursue lives of purpose, and a promise that Mary Baldwin University and the MBU Family will always find a way in periods of hardship. I wish you and your loved ones good health and perseverance in the days and weeks ahead.
Pamela R. Fox