Archer Scholar Te'Asia Smith pursues passion for caring for others

Archer Scholar Te'Asia Smith pursues passion for caring for others
Detroit native and Archer Scholar Teā€™Asia Smith is studying pre-nursing at Wayne State University.

Inspired by Ben Carson’s epic story of growing up in Detroit and achieving success as one of the world’s foremost neurosurgeons, Wayne State University student Te’Asia Smith knew she wanted to work in health care. What she didn’t know was whether she wanted to become a doctor or a nurse midwife. After graduating from Mumford High School on Detroit’s west side, Smith enrolled at Wayne State determined to pursue her passions for math and science and discover her future profession.

Today, Smith is a junior preparing to apply for the College of Nursing’s nationally recognized midwife program. “The midwives I have met are so caring and so gentle,” she said. “It takes a special kind of person to be a midwife.” Describing herself as someone who likes to take care of others, she believes the profession is the perfect fit for her personality. She also appreciates that being a midwife means caring for the whole person—physically, emotionally and spiritually. “A woman having a baby is going through a lot, and providing spiritual care can be just as important,” she said.

“I love math and science, but I also love the arts and theatre"
In addition to finding a passion for nursing at Wayne State, Smith appreciates the diversity of classes the university offers. “I love math and science, but I also love the arts and theatre,” she said. “Wayne State has everything, and I can experience that as a part of the university community.” Smith took a writing course and a dancing course, opportunities she especially appreciates because her rigorous schedule does not provide much time to pursue these interests in her free time. “I love to dance,” she said. “The class counted toward my degree, and I got an A.”

Smith is grateful for the education she has received at Wayne State so far, and for the support she has earned along the way. A recipient of the Dennis W. Archer Foundation Annual Scholarship, she credits scholarships and financial aid with allowing her to pursue her degree. “I couldn’t go to school without scholarships and financial aid,” she said. “Scholarships in particular help so that I don’t have to work as much and I can focus on my classes.” Smith is a laboratory technician, drawing blood, at St. John’s Hospital in Detroit. Supporting students who are working while they pursue their degree is an important focus of the Archer Scholarship.

Former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer created the Archer Scholarship at Wayne State in 2003, and 62 students have received support since its inception. The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan administers the scholarship on behalf of the Archer Foundation, as well as a similar scholarship at Western Michigan University. On September 19, the Community Foundation celebrated the distribution of the one millionth dollar for scholarship support from the Archer Foundation. Smith is part of the one millionth dollar class.

I want other girls like me to be inspired like that
After graduation, Smith aspires to work at Hutzel Hospital as a nurse midwife. In the years ahead she hopes to follow Archer’s example of supporting and inspiring Detroit students. “I’d like to start a mentorship program for young girls,” she said. “I was really inspired by Ben Carson’s story, and I want other girls like me to be inspired like that.” More than anything, she says she wants people to know that they can accomplish whatever they want if they set their mind to it.

Donor-funded scholarships are an important part of financial aid at Wayne State. To learn how you can support more students like Te’Asia Smith by establishing an annual or endowed scholarship, please contact the Wayne State University Division of Development and Alumni Affairs at 313-577-2275.

Posted September 25, 2013

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