By Janeal Downs
For as long as she can remember, Tarnika Edmunds has dreamed about being a doctor, a registered nurse, or any profession within the medical field. Her interest in the field has wavered at times, but seeing what her youngest brother goes through struggling with scoliosis, encouraged her to continue pursuing a medical career. “The sight of seeing him going back and forth to the hospital for different surgeries is what weakened me the most,” Tarnika stated in an essay. “It was an unbearable pain no one should ever see or feel.” However, seeing the many people come together to help him, impacted her in a positive way.
A while ago when her brother had surgery, Tarnika paid close attention to how the nurses helped him and she even took notes on some of their interactions. This is one way she is preparing for a life in the medical field, but after graduating high school, she plans on continuing her education at a university. Her top two choices are Radford University in Radford, Va. and Howard University in Washington D.C. “Radford because it’s smaller and I want to be able to learn and interact with my classmates as well as my teacher,” Tarnika said about why she is interested in Radford. Though she knows Howard is bigger than Radford, the connection she hopes to build with students and teachers also attracted her to the HBCU. She is interested in either studying to be a pediatric nurse practitioner or a forensic medical examiner.
While she is still at Huguenot High School, Tarnika maintains a 3.0 GPA. She is also in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program at the Richmond Technical Center. Tarnika started the program in the 9th grade. At first she was hesitant, but after doing well in classes like human anatomy and physiology, she was encouraged to stay with the program. Two of her favorite courses are Emergency Medical Tech (EMT) and sports medicine. With her sports medicine class she is able to work with athletic trainers and members of the school sports teams. She even had the chance to ride in an ambulance truck to experience picking people up with her EMT class. Through the program she has been able to volunteer at the Parham Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. “You grow a bond with each person and they want you to come back because sometimes they don’t get that attention and love on an everyday basis,” Tarnika said about her experience as a volunteer.
Other than working, Tarnika’s favorite activity outside of school is to spend time with her family. She named her mother, grandmother and her uncle who passed away as some of her biggest inspirations. Watching her mother overcome obstacles to raise her children encouraged her to do better. Her grandmother always pushes her to do her best and has always been on her side. Her uncle also inspired her because “I know if he was here, he’d want me to keep going and not give up, which I was doing at first.” Tarnika wants the community to know that she is an outstanding person who works hard. With the help of her family, she plans to continue working hard to get to where she wants to be and accomplish her dreams.