Students recognized with MU Unsung Hero awards
Megan Frost-Smith, left, and Sharon Finn were named Unsung Heroes by the Missouri Student Unions Programming Board in April.
Dedication. Integrity. Initiative. Hard work. Creativity. Perseverance. Character.
Two MU Sinclair School of Nursing students were recognized in April for their fulfillment of the qualities above. Megan Frost-Smith, BSN ’11, and Sharon Finn, a junior pre-nursing major, were among 10 University of Missouri undergraduate students honored with Unsung Hero awards from the Missouri Student Unions Programming Board.
The two women say they first planned to be teachers but the lure of nursing and the chance to serve others with their health care skills intervened.
Frost-Smith, a May graduate, entered MU as an education major but said she felt drawn to MUSSON. “I used to walk past it [the Sinclair School of Nursing] and through it just to look at it. I dreamed of someday being in class there. I really believe I was called to be in nursing,” she said. In addition to her coursework, Frost-Smith volunteered at Intersection, an after-school program for at-risk youth. “It was so much more than a job … it was a family,” she said. “I had … 40 little brothers and sisters that I had to learn how to discipline and point them in the right direction. It really showed me how I have a heart for the people that are counted out and looked down on.” This recent graduate also completed several mission trips to Honduras including a 2-month trip this summer. “I saw so much medical need and have had amazing opportunities to serve using the gift of nursing knowledge that I have,” Frost-Smith said. “Most importantly, it was an amazing way to share the love of Christ with people.”
Frost-Smith now lives in Memphis, Tenn., where she is participating in the Emerging Leaders program focused on training biblical disciples and looking for part-time work and volunteer opportunities. “I want to use nursing to spread the love of Christ,” she said, noting she’s still figuring out what her nursing service will look like and is considering working overseas.
In her award nomination for Frost-Smith, Anne Heine, MUSSON instructor of nursing, said, “She is one of the most dedicated, honest, hard-working, creative, determined, humble and giving individuals I have had the pleasure to know and to teach in my 27 years at MU. She is making a difference by using her gifts and talents to serve others both locally and internationally.”
While a nursing student, Frost-Smith said she loved her professors for their down-to-earth ways and heart. “They also shared a heart for providing good health care to people,” she said. “I loved being able to learn from them while they were purposefully teaching me as well as just learning as I watched them handle situations that arose in their own lives.”
Frost-Smith said she was humbled and honored to be named an Unsung Hero. “I just hope that everyone could see that it wasn’t because I’m awesome or anything like that, because I’m not, but that it was a blessing to be able to serve,” she said. “I strive to see myself as a servant who has just done her job.”
Finn is in the MU Honors College and a Nursing Scholar who will start the clinical portion of her nursing education in spring 2012. A diver with MU Athletics, she lives by a schedule in order to get everything in – classes, studying, practice, family, volunteering and socializing. This fall she is already taking two nursing classes so she can continue as a diver with MU athletics when she starts clinicals in the spring.
Finn credits her pre-nursing adviser, athletic adviser and coach with helping make her athletic and academic pursuits work together. “I am fortunate to have an extraordinary coach, Jamie Sweeney, to help me through all of this,” she said. “He knows that no matter what, school comes before athletics. He is always there for us when we are struggling through any kind of issue, whether it be diving, school or life in general.”
Finn was nominated by Alicia Hatcher, a graduate assistant for MU Student-Athlete Development, who praised her time-commitment to diverse experiences at Mizzou. “Maintaining the rigorous class and practice schedules of a Division I athlete is challenging, but Sharon completes them with ease,” Hatcher said in her nomination letter. “Sharon’s academic and athletic contributions truly are noteworthy, but her character is perhaps one of her best attributes.”
Finn’s mother is also a nurse, and although she first wanted to be a kindergarten teacher, Finn said her mother’s anatomy books were too intriguing. A great junior high science teacher and a desire to work with children led her to the idea of becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner — a goal which will include earning a PhD.
Family medical experiences also drive Finn’s desire to be a nurse. Her mother suffered a traumatic brain injury a few years ago that has since improved, her father has patiently struggled with multiple sclerosis for 10 years and both her mother and older brother have Type I diabetes. “I have so much respect for my mom, dad and brother, as they all go about their daily lives while having to deal with these life-altering situations,” Finn said. “It motivates me to help others with hardships similar to these by becoming a pediatric nurse.”
Although her competitive diving keeps her busy outside of school, Finn finds opportunities to serve such as volunteering at Columbia Humane Society and Children’s Hospital and serving as a note taker for students with disabilities in her classes. “I have always loved giving back to the community,” she said. “I do always try my best to find time to volunteer as often as I can.” As for career plans, Finn also said she is interested in the possibility of being a travel nurse and seeing the country.
Finn said she was shocked to be named an Unsung Hero. “I know that I try and be the best person I can possibly be, but I never see myself as worthy enough to receive such an award,” she said. “I give credit to God, my family and all the amazing people in my life for influencing me to try to be the best person I can be.”