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Helen Daniel always knew that she wanted to work in the medical field in some way. To that end, she first studied pre-nursing and then biology at Lakeland. She is currently employed as a direct service professional at Misericordia, Heart of Mercy, an organization in Chicago that provides direct care to individuals with developmental disabilities. She works mainly with individuals who have cerebral palsy, and finds that she has become very sensitive to the subtle changes in her clients moods, even when they cannot communicate to her in words. Just by being present with them on a daily basis, she finds she understands their needs.
While in school, Helen was very active in the Black Students Union, as vice-president and president. She was also the president of IMPACT, a Christian group on campus. They held prayer groups, Bible study groups, dances, and also visited some local churches. Church is still a very important part of Helen's life now, and she attends King of Glory Church in Chicago, where she volunteered quite a bit when she was in job hunting mode between graduation and her current employment.
Helen describes herself as "a daughter of Lakeland College" and fondly remembers falling in love with the place the very first time she visited. She also remembers standing in the cafeteria line with her mom, now deceased. Helen's mom was blind, yet a very outgoing and talkative person. Suddenly, a man came over to help Helen's mother carry her tray and choose a dessert. Helen's first thought was, "who is this strange man?" It turned out to be Stephen Gould, the president of Lakeland College. Helen was just amazed that the college president would be eating in the cafeteria with the students, just like a member of a very large and caring family.
Helen says that is one thing she misses the most about Lakeland, the family aspect. She tells the story about receiving the news that her mom had passed away. She said she barely remembers how it all happened, but she found herself standing in the hallway in Old Main, with professor David Lynch holding her and comforting her as she cried. Professor Lynch was not even her professor, but he heard her distressed cries and came out of his class to help her. She is sure that had she been a student at a larger school, that kind of comfort and caring would not have been available to her.
As for her advice to new graduates, Helen says "Keep your head toward the sky. Trust in God. And take all the classes and workshops that Career Development offers." She is certain that the skills that the CD staff passed along to her in terms of resumé writing and presenting herself professionally paid off in terms of her landing her job at Misericordia, a job she loves, within six months of graduation. If you would like to get in touch with Helen, her email address is email@example.com.