Lindsay Harter feels called to a career in medical missions, and the 2009 Samford nursing graduate is preparing--- step by step---to fulfill her goal.
As a participant in the Registered Nurse intern program at University of Alabama at Birmingham, Harter hopes to work in the Emergency Room after she completes rotations through five units. The ER, she reasons, will best prepare her for the challenges of medical missions.
In June, she participated in a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic with Christian Medical Ministry of Alabama. “That experience as a translator/nurse only confirmed my calling to participate in sharing the love of Jesus in needy places by providing medical care,” said Harter, who eventually wants to earn a graduate degree and become a nurse practitioner before heading to the mission field.
Her very first step, enrolling at Samford to study nursing, however, involved a giant leap of faith to overcome a financial obstacle.
Harter had originally not considered Samford for her education. Although her older brother, Zach Harter ‘06, had enjoyed his time at the school, she preferred to attend a large public university in her home state of Georgia.
“I wanted to discover new territory. If I wanted to continue in that mindset, however, I made a big mistake by visiting him on Step Sing weekend,” recalls Harter, who immediately “fell in love” with the student body and campus.
She was later impressed with Samford’s nursing program when she attended the school’s Academic Options Day, an experience that only strengthened her desire to attend.
“One significant problem was in my way, however—money,” said Harter.
Her prayers for financial assistance were answered in a big way when she was selected to receive a highly competitive Presidential scholarship, which her brother had also received.
She quickly became involved in campus life and community causes. During her freshman and sophomore years, she led the Invisible Children initiative of University Ministries’ Social Justice Committee. She later helped organize the city-wide Global Night Commute, a simulation of the nightly commute that children of northern Uganda make to avoid being captured by members of a rebel army.
Just prior to her senior year, however, a significant tuition increase made Harter fearful that, even with her Presidential scholarship, she would need to complete her nursing education elsewhere.
Shortly before that tuition was due, she learned that she had received a Samford Auxiliary scholarship that would help cover her senior year.
“I wept at the feet of Jesus in disbelief and another lesson learned.”
Through the years, scores of grateful Samford students have benefitted from Auxiliary scholarships. The endowed fund, in excess of $1 million dollars, is funded primarily by individuals, with additional support from corporations and foundations. This year, the Auxiliary provided more than $65,000 in scholarships from the endowment.
Harter is appreciative of the generosity of those who made both her Presidential and Auxiliary scholarships possible. Her words of gratitude are compelling.
“If I could say anything to donors, it would be this: You are not someone who just gives money to Samford,” said Harter. “You are someone who God uses to completely redirect the course of a man or woman’s life—their career, possibly who they marry, their spiritual growth and their entire outlook on life.”
College, she says, is an “absolutely critical time” for all of these things as students make the transition from adolescence to independent adult.
“That is an enormous responsibility, but an even greater privilege for you,” she says to donors. “I hope to be able to do the same one day.”