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HawkStrong: HFC and BMQFG inspire Vanessa Newton to become a patient advocate

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Vanessa Newton

Attending her first BMQFG meeting at the beginning of the 2021-22 academic year changed HFC student Vanessa Newtown’s life.

“I received an email invitation to attend one of the meetings from the BMQFG in September 2021. I loved the openness and the support from everyone in the meeting. I’ve been a member ever since,” said Newton, of Detroit. “The support and opportunities I have received from the BMQFG have been invaluable. During one of the meetings, I mentioned that I was paying for tuition out-of-pocket, which meant I was only able to take classes when I could save enough money. I was moving at a snail’s pace.”

Mark Yancy, HFC Campus Success Coach for Detroit Promise students learned about this. He helped Newton get scholarships and grants to pay for her tuition for that semester. HFC sociology professor and BMQFG faculty advisor Dr. Kalvin DaRonne Harvell wrote her letter of recommendation to join the Henry Ford II Honors Program.

“Once I became a member of the Honors Program, I received a full scholarship,” said Newton. “The opportunities the BMQFG offers to chair events and create presentations on any subject that we feel passionate about has allowed me to come out of my shell in a way I never thought possible.”

Adult student with a passion for nursing

The youngest of six, Newton is a single mom of two daughters, ages 6 and 5. After graduating from Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School in Detroit, she began her undergraduate work at Michigan State University. However, a family illness forced her to leave MSU. Reinventing herself, Newton enrolled at HFC.

“I like the community feel of the HFC campus and how willing the staff is to help with anything,” said Newton. “Each professor I’ve had has seemed very passionate about the subjects they teach, coupled with a plethora of knowledge on the subject.”

Newton is currently in HFC’s nursing program. She will earn her associate degree in nursing in 2024. She plans to transfer to Wayne State University to continue her education.

“I have always loved science, especially biology, and I also love helping people and letting them know they are cared for. Nursing is the perfect marriage of those two aspects for me,” she said. “In addition to the science, I enjoy caring for people and the opportunity to stand up for people in a way they might not be able to – whether they feel they aren’t receiving the proper care or if they feel a doctor is ignoring their concerns. My ultimate goal is to create a non-profit patient advocacy program for people of color to increase the quality care we receive in regard to healthcare.”

Aspirations supported by HFC and BMQFG

Newton is confident of her abilities and believes she can achieve her aspirations because of attending the College.

“Through the opportunities and education I am receiving from the BMQFG and HFC, I know that I will accomplish any goal that I set for myself,” she said.

Harvell is proud of his student.

“Vanessa Newton is the quintessential scholar capable of combining philosophy and practice,” he said. “Her impact in the BMQFG was immediate. She takes on assignments with critical care, and she continues to produce excellence that shows and proves her greatness. We are happy that she chose to build with the BMQFG at HFC.”