MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (May 23, 2017) — Carson Necessary, an occupational therapy student at Milligan College, didn’t see herself as a leader—at least at first. The thought of taking charge in a group setting was just not her style.
So when she and fellow OT student Sadie Bradshaw (B.A. ’15) received a prestigious spot in the Vanderbilt Consortium LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities), she was nervous.
“I was very hesitant and insecure about my ability to even do well in something like this,” said Necessary, of Church Hill, Tennessee. “I never saw myself as someone who could stand up and take charge, especially in my profession.”
The VCL is part of a national network of LEND programs which focuses on preparing health professionals to assume leadership roles and develop interprofessional team skills, as well as advanced clinical and research skills, in order to meet the complex needs of children with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities.
The program expanded from Middle Tennessee to East Tennessee State University and Milligan in the fall of 2016 and also includes faculty and trainees from Belmont University, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University, The University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University and Family Voices of Tennessee.
Necessary and Bradshaw, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, as well as other students from ETSU, worked in groups, video conferencing with Vanderbilt faculty throughout the program. Bradshaw said she learned an important lesson from the experience, one that connects to Milligan’s mission to prepare men and women to be servant leaders in their community.
“It’s important to use our leadership skills to not only be leaders but also followers and to know when to be one or the other,” said Bradshaw.
Both students will complete their fieldwork for the next six months before they graduate in December. In addition, both want to focus on occupational pediatrics, helping children overcome disabilities.
“I’ve seen a big change in their confidence,” said Dr. Christy Isbell, professor of occupational therapy at Milligan and VCL faculty member. “Carson and Sadie have very different personalities, but it’s been a really exciting process for me to watch them grow and develop in this program. I’m extremely proud of them. I know they’ll go out and touch lives and shape children’s futures.”
For Necessary, the change she experienced could provide lifelong benefit.
“I think that I have gained so many tools and learned so much about what it means to be an effective leader,” said Necessary. “That’s something that I’ll take with me throughout my entire career.”