It was pure luck that Theresa Medrano found her way to Kent State. Her friend was accepted and she accompanied her to DKS, as her mother was sick and could not go. Once here, her friend suggested she apply and talk to financial aid in order to get scholarships and monetary help. After being on campus, she knew she wanted to be here. She liked the fact that the campus was smaller and people were friendly. She was able to receive grants and scholarships, and is now going to be graduating next year with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Growing up, Theresa never thought college would be an option. She overcame many obstacles with her family, and even spent some time crashing on friends’ couches. She had a rocky relationship with her family, but was able to survive and share her story with people all over. She sent out 30,000 packets to Kent State alumni and donors, as well as having her story published on Cleveland.com and an Akron magazine called “Spirit of Philanthropy”. She was nervous at first, as everyone on campus would know what she’d been through and possibly treat her differently, but in the end it was a very positive experience.
Theresa has taken advantage of many opportunities here at Kent including being a coordinator in Relay for Life and an executive officer in Flashanthropy, raising money for other students in need. She has also been participating in the Gerontology club and is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. One of her favorite things she has been a part of is Operation Smile, an organization that she was president of at one point, but now just wishes to be a general member. She is also a member of a group called CHAARG for women who want to do workouts beyond the elliptical, such as boxing.
Theresa is very passionate about helping people in nursing homes and does everything she can to better the lives of those in them. She has plans to work on activities with residents at a nursing home and will be volunteering at the Seidman Cancer Center over the summer. She would like to work in nursing homes as an assistant or head coordinator planning and organizing events as well as making sure the residents are getting the care that they need. Later in life, she would like to be a nursing home administrator and implement ideas she has to make residents’ lives more comfortable. She would like nursing homes to carry tablets so that the residents can FaceTime or Skype their families who are not able to visit so that they don’t feel so alone. She would also there to be more training programs at nursing homes and be able to work one-on-one with the staff in order to ensure the patients are being treated properly and with care.
The main reason Theresa chose to declare a Human development and Family Studies major with a concentration in Nursing Home Administration, is because of her grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. When she saw the low quality of the environment her grandmother was surrounded by, she knew she wanted to make a change. Finding the concentration she did was the best thing for her and Theresa really feels that she belongs.
Some of the professors here at Kent State have really made a difference in Theresa’s life, such as Dr. Cichy and Professor Karen Stewart. Even though they knew her story, they always made sure not to treat her differently. Professor Stewart always asked what she could do and made Theresa feel comfortable opening up to her and sharing any problem that she had.
Theresa’s motivation to work hard is what has helped her overcome obstacles. “If I can go through what I did and be in college now working towards a bachelor’s, I can do anything...nothing’s impossible. You just have to have determination and be willing to put forth the work.” Her advice to students is that “if you feel like you’re going through a rough situation...know that you’re never alone and that there are people in the background rooting for your success.”