A commitment to serve: Altheria Davis at Northeast State

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Altheria Davis counts herself as many things: college student, veteran, wife, mother, and woman with a vision to improve public health access in the region. So with carrying the usual responsibilities of a non-traditional student, Davis was thrilled to receive the R. Wade Powers Book Scholarship this year through the Northeast State Community College Foundation.

“It was so beneficial to me to receive this scholarship,” said Davis. “Any scholarship is so encouraging for a student to drive you forward.”

As a University Parallel major at Northeast State, Davis is poised to complete her associate degree requirements this summer. She said the personal relationships she had developed with faculty and fellow students made her time at Northeast State special.

“You are not looked at as a number, and you’re not thrown into a group of 1,000 students in a classroom,” said Davis of Northeast State. “You get a feel for being independent as student and still feel supported by your instructors.”

Davis graduated from Smiths Station High School in Alabama. After graduating she opted to join the United State Army. She served her country as an active duty army medic for three years and active reservist for three more. As Davis was already interested in the health care as a career, her experience as an army medic fueled her desire to carry on in the field after her military service.

“I knew that if could learn the skills the Army had designated for me that when I became a civilian I could build on what I had learned,” said Davis.

She plans to seek her bachelor’s degree in Public Health at East Tennessee State University. She initially met with representatives of Northeast State’s office of Career Services who matched Davis’s skills, her interest in healthcare with her most logical career choices.

Davis received the book scholarship established by former Northeast State president Dr. Wade Powers and his wife. She had the opportunity to meet Dr. Powers at the Foundation’s scholarship reception held in December. The scholarship provides the recipient with money for textbooks.

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Davis has an even bigger goal.  She plans to join forces with a nurse practitioner and establish a mobile care center to serve the poor and indigent population of Southwest Virginia while continuing her education.

“The need in the area is great,” she said. “I want to eventually earn my Ph.D. in Public Health while I can serve the population that lacks health care services.”

She moved to the Tri-Cities area six years ago and now resides in Kingsport with her husband, Willie, and their two sons, ages 13 and 11.  Davis said enrolling at Northeast State made perfect sense for traditional and non-traditional students.

“There are a huge number of things you can do with your interests,” said Davis.  “Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed, but stay steadily moving toward your goal.”

Thomas Wilson

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