FDU’s CCEEL: Empowering Aspiring Doctors and Boosting Community Ties

By Eisha Iman

Special Correspondent

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” –Martin Luther King Jr. My dream to become a doctor has been a never-ending thought in my mind. Along with this thought always came a long list of questions beginning with how, what, when, where, or why. Being first generation always came with challenges, but I never let that get the best of me. I’ve always been someone who’s searched for opportunities and found ways to achieve my dreams. Wanting to become a doctor, I had already taken the first step to go to college; however, the second step was to gain clinical experience.

In search of this, I attended FDU’s annual career fair to learn about different opportunities available in my local area. During that event, I met my volunteer advisor, and that was where my journey of volunteering at Holy Name Medical Center began. I began training in February 2023 at Holy Name’s Volunteer courtesy desk, then moved on to the emergency department and later a nurse’s station on the orthopedics floor. 

From the role of a volunteer, I see firsthand the professionals involved in taking care of a single patient to an entire floor of patients. My experience as a volunteer has also allowed me to further my own skills and knowledge in medicine; learning to take vital signs, practicing my bedside manner, and staying aware of medical situations have all become natural practices for me. Volunteering has also allowed me to strengthen both my intrapersonal and interpersonal skills, such as self-discipline, communication, active listening, and teamwork. By being a volunteer at Holy Name, I can build a more robust understanding of the medical field for when I begin my career.

Staying involved in my community has allowed me to reflect upon the strength that holds a group of people together. For students, it’s often the support from their school that provides them guidance to pave their pathway for the future. Being a proud scholar of the Educational Opportunity Fund Program (EOF), I believe college programs that provide students with guidance for the future are essential in allowing successful graduates to create a brighter future for tomorrow. With guidance from my various advisors, including EOF, honors, and academic advising, FDU offers an excellent support system for student success.

However, success only comes from being able to get the right opportunities. Being a sophomore at FDU has already allowed me to see the opportunities available at my university globally and the local opportunities present right in FDU’s backyard. Fairleigh Dickinson’s hope to achieve more community engagement and provide academic opportunities for its students has led to the creation of the Center for Community Engagement & Experiential Learning (CCEEL). This organization will allow FDU students to be able to gain firsthand experience related to their degree and career right at home in New Jersey. This program seeks to build stronger relationships amongst FDU students with staff and local community members to enforce their career skills from community-based engagement and learning. Learning about their field of choice will help them to build a stronger understanding of what the responsibilities and work ethic their career requires, allowing students to become continuous learners and responsible individuals in society.

I believe that the Center for Community Engagement & Experiential Learning (CCEEL) is a great opportunity for FDU students to not only further their knowledge but to take the first steps that they would need to achieve their career goals. As Martin Luther King Jr. had said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” With the beginning of CCEEL, students will be able to pursue their careers confidently. I am grateful for the opportunities presented to me by both FDU and my community to advance my educational experience and I hope that with CCEEL, more students can have the same support that I do.

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