Sharing the stories of Saint Xavier University students, alumni, faculty/staff and friends.
What were you doing at 2 a.m. yesterday? Sleeping would be the most logical answer for many. For Andrianna, a junior from Chicago's Auburn Gresham neighborhood, the answer was "studying for calculus."
Such dedication to her studies is nothing out of the ordinary for Andrianna. She is routinely up early in the morning, or late at night depending on your perspective, reviewing her notes for calculus, organic chemistry or biology. It's all a part of Andrianna's dream to become a neurosurgeon.
"Since 7th grade, I've talked about becoming a neurosurgeon. Two doctors talked to our class during a career day. Their stories about finding their passion in life served as an epiphany for me. I've always liked helping people and had an interest in first aid. After hearing the doctors I thought to myself, 'Yes, I can do this. I can be a doctor.' It just seemed like the perfect fit."
"I love the brain – how it controls every function in the body. It fascinates me, so I knew I wanted to do something related to the brain. Also, I grew up watching medical dramas like ER, so that influenced me, too. People have told me that I may change my mind, but I've never wanted to do anything else than become a neurosurgeon."
The middle of three children, Andrianna's parents always pushed her to go to college because they didn't have the same opportunity for themselves. They wanted her to get a good education that would lead to a long lasting career and allow her to support herself. In fact, it was Andrianna's mother who strongly advocated for her to attend Saint Xavier University.
"I was accepted to a number of universities and wanted to go out of state, but my mom felt staying closer to home would be the best decision for me. I'm really glad I decided to come here. I've gained so much more than I thought I would. The faculty and staff really care about students. It's not just going to class and going through the motions to get a degree. I feel like I've really grown up and matured and I've been exposed to so much more than I thought I would before I got here."
"I expected college to be as it is portrayed on TV and in the movies – lots of parties, not much studying – but it has been the exact opposite at SXU. Here, it's really academically focused. The courses are rigorous."
Two of the most challenging classes Andrianna has taken, a biology course with Dr. Tatiana Tatum-Parker and an English class with Dr. Shannon Ambrose, have turned out to be among her favorites.
"I've never been pushed as much as I was in those classes. They're my favorite because I felt like I learned so much about myself and what I could do. Now, whenever I have a difficult class, I think back to what I learned in those classes and how I persevered."
Outside of her studies, the biochemistry major is involved with activities on campus, with her church and in her community. Andrianna is a member of the Chemistry Club and the Student Success Program, a program federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education to provide assistance and support to students who are low income and first-generation or low income students with disabilities. She actively participates in Campus Ministry through service trips and women's retreats.
Andrianna is involved with the Apostolic Church of Christ's health and wellness ministry and its monthly health seminars. As it relates to her professional goals, Andrianna is a volunteer at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. She has spent time working in both the emergency room and the pediatric intensive care unit.
Like 95 percent of Saint Xavier students, Andrianna relies on scholarships, grants and loans in order to pay tuition and pursue her professional goals.
"Thank God for donors. I thank them for all the assistance they provide to students at SXU. They are truly making a difference for students like me each and every time they donate to our school."
Saint Xavier students are an exceptional group of women and men who are passionate about what they do, concerned about our world and committed to making a difference for others. Andrianna is a wonderful example of our mission and core values in action.