Jon LeClair, SON ’18, has something to prove. At least that is how he feels as the recipient of the Caroline Fredricka Holdship Trust, which is helping him to study health care in GW’s School of Nursing.
“I feel like someone has given me a chance to succeed, and I am inspired to prove my worth and to give something back,” he says.
LeClair did not dream of becoming a nurse. Instead, he realized health care was his calling due to “a constellation of people and events,” including volunteering with the Oregon Health & Science University Casey Eye Institute Community Outreach Van; volunteering with Event Management Services, which provided first aid for local events including the Special Olympics; and shadowing a nurse at the Medical College of Georgia. LeClair also received guidance from several nurses, including his mother, and from Ed Degrauw, an anatomy and physiology professor at Portland State University.
“Having the opportunity to study health care at the GW School of Nursing, during a time when the future of health care policy is being hotly debated, has made me realize the importance of intersecting policy with practice, and public and social advocacy with professionalism,” he says. “This has truly informed the importance of the work I’m doing and motivates me to look for ways to take what I’m learning and apply it for the good of our society, wherever I can.”
Following graduation this spring, LeClair will participate in an RN residency program for a local hospital emergency department, where he hopes to help underserved and vulnerable populations, such as those experiencing low socioeconomic status, homelessness, or the high burden of chronic and under-treated diseases.
“Anywhere that is classified as a health professional shortage area is where I want to end up working,” he says. “There are many areas in D.C. that qualify for this designation, so I’ll be looking locally.”
While it took LeClair a few years to realize he wanted to become a nurse, support from the Caroline Fredricka Holdship Trust made this dream a reality.
“I did not know how I’d pay for my education,” he says. “When I received the news of this award, I felt deeply touched by the generosity of someone I had never met.”