Alverno Loyal: Giving from the COVID frontline
Candace Hill ’16 chose nursing because it seemed like a practical career. Like most people, she envisioned nurses in hospitals and emergency rooms. She’d never heard of public health nursing — providing health care to vulnerable people and entire communities — until her junior year at Alverno, when she met alumnae in this field. Public health nursing was the perfect fit.
“I was able to mix in my servant leadership and my community work by going into public health nursing,” says Hill, who began her career with the City of Milwaukee Health Department.
Hill certainly never expected to play a key role in a global health pandemic — and yet, just four years after graduation, she is doing just that.
“With COVID-19, we know that it’s really important to have public health nurses. It will be really important with the vaccine coming out,” she says.
And Hill is now in the position to take on a leadership role in COVID-19 vaccine distribution in one of the largest cities in the country: Chicago.
Long before the pandemic hit, Hill and her partner had decided to move to the Windy City. They realized their dream in April when Hill landed a job as a public health nurse for the city of Chicago. Her specialty? Immunizations.
She spends her days in a bus that’s been refurbished into a mobile vaccine caravan, providing flu vaccinations and education to children and adults at schools, methadone clinics, churches, homeless shelters and other public locations in the city.
“Most people are still hesitant to get the flu vaccine. Many are getting it for the first time because of COVID,” Hill says. “I get a lot of questions about when the COVID vaccine will be available. I’ve been able to start talking to people about how the vaccine will work.”
Hill is also part of the conversations happening behind the scenes about how the COVID vaccines will be distributed and which communities will be served first.
“That’s been really cool. My public health background has given me a lot of experience with vaccine distribution, and I may be able to take a leadership role for distributing the COVID vaccine,” she says.
Hill says the 8 Abilities, particularly communication and social interaction, fully prepared her for her new role. And she credits the Alverno network for setting her up for success; an alum connection helped her nab her first job in public health, which gave her the experience she needed to head to Chicago.
Shy and quiet as a girl, Hill credits Alverno with helping her find her voice and giving her the confidence she needed to make major life changes — such as moving to Chicago during a pandemic and trusting that she would get a public health position with the city.
“I would tell myself: ‘I’m an Alverno woman, I can do this,’” Hill says.
She wants to help other women find their voices at Alverno. She’s doing so by speaking at alumnae events and being part of Alverno Loyal, the recognition society for those who give at least two consecutive years or sign up for monthly recurring gifts.
“Simply put, I want to give back to something that gave me so much,” Hill says. “Because of what Alverno did for me, I know that my gift will do something positive.”
Hill received a full four-year scholarship to attend Alverno, but she knows that many of her classmates struggled to pay tuition and some even had to drop out for financial reasons. That’s why she gives back as much as she can and is encouraging others to do the same.
“It’s hard to ask others to give right now, but think of a number you’re comfortable with and do it for a year. At the end of the year, decide what you want to give the next year,” says Hill, whose gifts become part of a pool of scholarship funds. “We need to empower other women. Just give what you can.”
To learn more about becoming Alverno Loyal and recurring giving, visit alverno.edu/loyal.