A student profile of nursing student Shayla Atkins
Shayla Atkins knows she can’t save the world — but maybe she can greatly improve part of it.
“I am from the community of Mascot in Knox County,” she says. “I came to East Tennessee State University in hopes of becoming a nurse and now, with the help of a James H. Quillen Scholarship, I am a third-semester nursing student.”
Atkins is a volunteer at the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where she escorts veterans through the hospital.
“I enjoy the opportunity to get to know the men and women who served this country,” she says, “and I am glad I can serve them in some small way.”
She also leads mission trips to Haiti, a country she has visited four times.
“I have had the opportunity to do a lot throughout Haiti,” Atkins says. “I have assisted in building schools and churches, helped run a food mission for those in need, assisted medical professionals in clinics and formed relationships with hundreds of Haitians.”
Her interest in Haiti isn’t put on hold while she is at ETSU, though.
“I’m actively trying to get more than 200 Haitians sponsored to go to school near their homes,” she says. “I am also raising money for other projects for the missionaries there that I work with.”
Over the next few years, Atkins hopes to help Haiti in whatever ways she can.
“Haiti is a place where needs are constantly changing,” Atkins says, “but I hope to help build more schools for the growing number of children that missionaries educate. Many of these students meet out-of-doors or in buildings completely unequipped to be classrooms. And, I hope to continue to build relationships with the people of Haiti. One way to do this is through the creation of more medical clinics and medical trucks. My fundraising is devoted to those projects.”
On campus, Atkins has an array of interests. She is active with The Well, a non-denominational campus ministry, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
She is also a member of Alpha Lambda Delta honor society, Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and the Lions Club.
She was drawn to the Lions Club, she says, because “this is a fairly new organization on campus, and it lives up to its motto, ‘We Serve,’ in many ways — especially working with the blind, a unique population that is often overlooked.”