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Nursing student uses Spanish to educate on health care access

Savanna ZieglerSenior Savanna Ziegler has a strong desire to help others. That’s one reason she decided to major in nursing.

“I love health education,” said Ziegler. “I grew up in Gwinnett County just outside of Atlanta. We have a large Hispanic population there, which I worked with growing up.”

That led to her to also minor in Spanish while at Georgia College, and now she’s combining both her passions to bring resources to Hispanics in the Putnam County area.

“I am organizing a bilingual health fair at the Walmart in Eatonton,” she said. “It’s completely volunteer driven, and we will have many health screenings, the Latino Student Association on-hand to help translate and my fellow nursing students administering the tests.”

The fair will include blood pressure, vision and diabetic screenings as well as have representatives from local hospitals and other public resources available with information.

“I hope the community receives the resources and educational material that they need,” said Ziegler. “Before nursing school, I didn’t really know just how important the health education aspect is for people, and language shouldn’t stop them from being able to get the care they need.”

This service-learning project was coordinated through the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures and allows Ziegler to complete her minor in Spanish.

“This project will help to build a bridge between GC and the Hispanic community in the area. It will also help students to use what they have learned in their majors and minors in a real context,” said Dr. Aurora Castillo-Scott, assistant professor of Spanish.

That’s all part of the ENGAGE focus embraced at GC through both coursework and community-based projects.  ENGAGE is a five-year plan to develop structured and accessible community-based engaged learning experiences that connect students with the community. Students participating in these experiences develop the experience and skills to become informed citizen leaders prepared to make a contribution to the public good, which is exactly what Ziegler and her fellow students will do with this project.

“Our future professionals will be exposed to many languages, and at GC we want to prepare our students to function effectively in a global context. For that reason, learning a second language is imperative to all students who want to properly function in a global context,” said Castillo-Scott.

The health fair will be held Saturday April 18 from 10 a.m. to noon.

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