GILLEM ENCLAVE, Ga. –
COVID-19 complicated college and graduation for virtually every student in the U.S. For Sgt. Melanie Workman, a Soldier with the 75th Field Hospital and a student at Georgia State University, COVID-19 has been life-changing.
For Workman, her final semester before graduating was very difficult to stay on top of, “School started back up the same day that I was activated for a COVID-19 support mission with the Army Reserve. I was at my mobilization base as classes were starting, I was literally clicking between screens of class lectures and FEMA training courses as I prepared to mobilize.”
Workman, a Pharmacy Technician for Urban Augmented Medical Task Force 005-1, was assigned to Elmhurst Hospital in New York, as part of the COVID-19 response effort. Although the mission was stressful, Workman found many positives, saying, “It has been fulfilling in so many ways. I am appreciative of the staff I had the honor to work with. I admire their passion, sense of community, support, and professionalism.”
Workman also worked as the unit public affairs representative and captured photos. “I have had the pleasure to witness and show my comrades the good they have been doing within the N.Y. community and reveal their passion doing their work through photography,” she said.
But balancing the stressful 12-hour shifts with school was a challenge. “Honestly, it was God's grace and strength that aided with managing school, work and the mission. I was so overwhelmed and discouraged with the workload that I considered withdrawing and forfeiting graduation with two weeks left of school. Luckily, I had understanding professors and a command that allowed me to have a more flexible schedule on exam days.”
Upon graduating, Workman’s team made sure her accomplishment was celebrated with signs, balloons and an impromptu celebration in the hospital.
After earning her B.S. in Biology with assistance from a Pell Grant, Hope Scholarship and the GI Bill, Workman has plans for the future, “I plan to go to occupational therapy school in pursuit of a career as an occupational therapist. I have a passion for pediatrics and heightened curiosity with neurological cases. As experience and knowledge expand, maybe I will focus on one or both of those fields, she said.
Looking back on her time at Elmhurst Hospital, Workman is optimistic, saying, “I wish each individual the best on their future endeavors. May we continue to go far as we beat this virus, as one nation. Hooah!”