Senior Nadjulia Constant and her fellow members of Villanova’s Gospel Choir led by director Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, performed in Philadelphia on March 10 for Harriet Tubman’s 200th birthday celebration where a statue of the abolitionist was unveiled outside City Hall. “The Journey to Freedom” has been a traveling exhibition, commemorating the life of Tubman who was born an enslaved person, escaped from Maryland to Philadelphia in 1849, and returned to shepherd about 70 other enslaved people to freedom through the Underground Railroad. She is known for having been an abolitionist, Union spy, nurse and political activist.
Nadjulia, a Presidential Scholar from Orange, NJ, notes she is grateful for opportunity to perform at the event and calls it “truly heartwarming.” She explains the significance, saying, “We got to celebrate the strength and determination of an instrumental Black woman in history. While it was a joyous moment, it also served as a reminder that there is still more to be done. Harriet Tubman showed us that we must be fierce revolutionaries in order to enact change. I certainly plan to do my part, especially in my career as a nurse.”
While the pandemic caused the Gospel Choir to pause, Nadjulia explains that they were able to “kick start it” again in spring 2021 and it has been student run since then.
“I enjoy Gospel Choir because Gospel music is how I feel closest to God. It unlocks a level of emotion and warmth that is honestly unmatched,” Nadjulia shares, adding she joined the group as a sophomore after learning about it, “I did not think twice about joining. That decision has led me to meet some amazing people who share that love for gospel music.”
Nadjulia is soon to present her work as a Falvey Scholar on April 22 following her research, manuscript and review of the literature on Minority Stress and the Effects on Cardiovascular Health in African Americans with classmate Daryl Jucar. The pair are honors pathophysiology students mentored by Clinical Professor Theresa Capriotti, DO, MSN, RN, CRNP and have their manuscript in press in MEDSURG Nursing: The Journal of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses.
As she looks forward, Nadjulia also looks back. “For a long time, I knew I wanted a career in health care. When I was younger, I would watch the different shows on Discovery Health like Mystery Diagnosis, Untold Stories of the E.R. and Dr. G: Medical Examiner. The human body, the doctors and nurses, and the diagnoses all fascinated me. However, I cared about more than just the physical needs,” she reflects. “I was - and still am - interested in holistic care. After researching the various professions in health care, I realized that nursing encompassed this perfectly. With nearly four years in college and extern experience, my goal is to become a pediatric emergency nurse.”