Takesha La'Shawn Leonard
I am destined to do something great—to help a population that many people don't realize exist.
My childhood was pretty rough, born in the Bronx, NY, with overwhelming social stressors for a young girl. My grandmother, Margaret Bolden, was the only person who encouraged me to become someone greater than my surroundings. Having worked as a pediatric critical-care RN for several years, I never forgot my goal of returning to school to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.
At D'Youville, I felt a genuine sense of caring and respect from the faculty. Although they were our professors and advisors, they also became our friends. The once-a-week classes were very conducive to my work and home schedule as I am a working mother of four young children. The FNP program prepared me for the certification exam which I completed in a little over an hour.
Now, I work full-time at Jericho Road Community Health Center, where we provide primarily for the immigrant, refugee and impoverished populations. The primary site is located on the west side of Buffalo. I am responsible for providing compassionate, respectful health services and health management for patients of all ages.
In my job, I've encountered histories and memories of men and women being chased by men with dogs and guns, while having their children attached to their backs using cloths. These people had the goal of making it across the border to a refugee camp. As tears streamed down my eyes and stories of being shot, whipped and brutalized were told, I realized that my mission was not going to stop here. I am destined to do something great—to help a population that many people don't realize exist. I'm on my way to realizing my goal, because I am currently a student in the doctorate in public health policy at D'Youville.
Takesha La'Shawn Leonard '09
Family Nurse Practitioner (MS)