Nursing student Arionna Wooden recently became the vice president for the Black Student Union (BSU) and wishes to carve a legacy helping fellow African-American students.
Starting at WSU
Wooden has always been interested in the healthcare field and gained a full-ride scholarship to Wright State University (WSU) through the Boonshoft School of Medicine’s Horizons in Medicine program in 2016. Competing with 26 other students, she won first place and a certificate for the most outstanding individual project, which was on battered woman syndrome.
“When I won, it was like ‘wow, I can do this. I’m just as good as the next person,’ and it was just such an eye-opener because they saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself,” said Wooden.
Challenges and organizations
During her first two years of school, she did not often participate in student organizations, only going to meetings and events.
“I didn’t really pursue the social aspect of what it means to go to college,” said Wooden. “I thought it was just books and obligations.”
She also felt alone in her major, since the field of nursing is predominantly white.
“I’ll be going to class and it might be 20 people in a lab,” said Wooden. “There might be two black women in a room of 20 and the other 18 are white women. I just felt like nobody necessarily wanted me here.”
Wooden joined the BSU in 2020. Before she officially joined the organization, she often spent time in its office in the Student Union, where the members made her feel welcome.
“I could come in there and do homework or chat with members,” said Wooden. “I could ask for mentoring advice and none of them were my assigned mentor. They just made me feel like I belonged there even though I wasn’t necessarily, on paper, a part of the organization.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing, Wooden will pursue a career in the field of mental health. She plans to become a nurse practitioner in mental health and would like to teach at a university or other nursing program if possible.
Black History Month
Wooden believes that the most important thing to take away from Black History Month is that African-Americans deserve to be heard and not to be written off as lazy.
“Of course, there are people in the world who do not want to work hard, but that is not designated to one person of any color or any ethnicity,” said Wooden. “The biggest thing to remember is that we are here.”
When Wooden first heard about the murder of George Floyd last July, a certain thought went through her mind.
“The first thing I remember saying in my head was ‘dang, another one’ because it seems like every few years, there’s that one big headliner that just breaks the news,” said Wooden. “There are hundreds of people whose names have not been reported to the headlines, but when it reaches the headlines, it must be pretty impactful.”
Strength in numbers
According to Wooden, education on what to do if a person needs help or feels they are getting unjustly treated by a police officer is vital to making sure their voices are heard. She also believes that strength in numbers is important.
“Yes, we have organizations like the NAACP and student organizations like the Black Student Union, but sometimes it doesn’t even take a powerful organization to be behind one person,” said Wooden. “It takes one person and their community to be behind them.”
As the vice president of the BSU, Wooden hopes to establish a legacy, not necessarily for her position but for her name.
“I may be Arionna and I may be the vice president of the Black Student Union, but I am Arionna first,” said Wooden.