Cierra Womack: passionate about healthcare and medicine
Cierra Womack, a student in the Radford University Carilion (RUC) Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration program, is proudly passionate about healthcare and medicine. It was a twist of fate during her high school years that led her down her current path and pointed her toward her career aspirations.
“I was placed in an emergency medicine class instead of my first choice, which was a cooking class,” Cierra recalled. “Ever since, I just loved doing things that included medicine and caring for people.”
Around the same time of her unexpected class placement, Cierra began helping her mother take care of her ailing grandfather and started volunteering with her local EMS agency. Both experiences enhanced her interest in caring for others and eventually brought her to the Radford University School of Nursing.
Cierra spent two years studying in the program on the main campus in Radford before transferring to RUC this academic year. The move brought her closer to family in her native Chatham, Virginia, while also bringing her to the heart of Radford’s health sciences-focused programs in Roanoke. It also resulted in a change in major from nursing to healthcare administration.
“I found that I wanted to lead,” Cierra said. “Healthcare administration was a more natural fit for me. I think I will be able to help a lot of people with this degree. I hope to work in a trauma center and help coordinate or manage an emergency department.”
The junior, who expects to graduate in 2022, is confident that this path at RUC is the right one for her at this time.
“RUC and Roanoke are the right places for me.” Cierra convieniently lives in the residence halls at The Patrick Henry building on Jefferson Street, just steps away from RUC. “The classes are focused on what I love, and being in the middle of downtown Roanoke gives me the opportunity to explore. It’s been so much fun discovering all of the local parks, stores and restaurants in town. The Roanoke Star is my favorite place to go, and I enjoy the downtown farmer’s market and the Blue Ridge Parkway.”
Like many college students, Cierra is currently adjusting to earning her degree in a world contending with the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many, she is facing challenges as she adjusts to the global situation but remains hopeful, positive and commited to her dreams!
“I have faith that if we all keep pushing forward, we will all make it and succeed,” said Cierra.
As part of her curriculum, Cierra has already completed all of the courses required for a psychology minor, and she believes that part of her education could help her and others she learns with this fall.
... if we all keep pushing forward, we will all make it and succeed."
“My experience with psychology helps me manage my own thoughts and has prompted me to devote time to self-care,” she said, “which is so important in times of stress. I hope that through being available to other RUC students, I can be there if someone needs to talk.”
Cierra gets to interact and be a sounding board for many of her fellow students through her work as a resident assistant (RA). It is a role she began on the main campus in Radford, where she was an RA at Muse Hall, and has brought with her to the Patrick Henry in Roanoke.
Resident assistants are graduate or undergraduate students who live in the residence halls and are responsible for the development of cohesive communities, the safety and security of residents and the enforcement of campus policies. RA’s have to possess leadership skills, communicate effectively, demonstrate a willingness to work with a diverse student population and be able to evaluate a situation objectively while dealing with a wide range of emotions and behavior. Resident assistants frequently develop deep personal relationships with residents, helping them deal with new experiences and change, often when those young adults are away from home for the first time in their lives.
“I have had so many wonderful experiences being an RA,” Cierra said. “As RA’s, we are the first people that the students and the parents meet on move-in day. We help them get settled and understand what Radford University has to offer. Being an RA is such a joy for me because I enjoy helping people in any way possible.”
Cierra said that her empathy for the residents comes from her own experiences as a first-time college student in the recent past, where she found herself missing her parents, her three younger siblings and her five-year-old dog, Haylen, a cheagle (chihuahua/beagle mix).
“From being the person they can talk to about classes, to being the one they come to when they have no one else,” Cierra said, “I want to be the resource they have when they need it. I think I can help make their college experiences positive ones they will look back on fondly for years to come.”
Beyond the residence halls, Cierra is being recognized for her outstanding work. She has been named the president of the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH).
“NRHH represents the 1 percent of residence hall students who demonstrate leadership and whose contributions enhance the quality of living in the residence halls or university apartments,” Cierra said. “Members actively serve the residential community, develop leadership and show service to the community.” Truly, the NRHH leadership role embodies Cierra’s commitment to be responsive to the needs of the residents she serves and to the needs of the University.
Cierra said she learned a lot as an RA on the main Radford campus last year and looks forward to applying that knowledge to her new residence hall in Roanoke.
“Moving to Roanoke and being an RA in the Patrick Henry has been great,” she said. “I love how it is a nice, short walk to RUC and other wonderful places in downtown. It is a great place to live!”
“Responsive. Resilient. Real.” is an online story series published by Radford University that began in spring 2019. The ongoing series celebrates the Highlander spirit of students, faculty, staff and alumni by sharing their unique stories and their strong sense of Highlander pride. Through being responsive, resilient and real, Highlanders are making a positive impact and leaving a lasting legacy on our campus and in communities around the world.