Commuter Student Finds Purpose at CUA
In her freshman year, sophomore commuter student Reanna Sealey threw herself into on-campus life by becoming involved in a wide variety of activities, including RENEW, DC Reads, Chemistry Club, ballroom dance, and Black Student Alliance, among others.
“Many days I would stay on campus either for studying or because I wanted to go to events,” said Sealey, who currently commutes from Temple Hills, Md.
“Maybe a month or two into the semester, someone asked where my room was. When I told them that I was a commuter, they didn’t believe me!”
Though she has many interests, Sealey has focused on helping others. She has explored her faith and developed her ability to serve the community for the past two years through Campus Ministry activities and service events, involvement in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, and other volunteer opportunities at Bethlehem House and Little Sisters of the Poor.
This year, Sealey was offered the chance to speak at Freshman Retreat about her faith journey and, despite being prone to stage fright, she accepted. Although academics and an on-campus job have prevented her from being as involved in extracurricular activities this year as she was freshman year, Sealey is still committed to RCIA and the occasional service opportunity.
Living with sickle-cell anemia, a disorder that causes the deformation and malfunction of red blood cells, has been a factor in Sealey’s desire to help others. During stints in the hospital, she was inspired by the efforts of volunteers who lifted her spirits when she was unable to leave her bed.
“Just to have someone there to talk to … would cheer me up, even if I couldn’t walk most times,” Sealey said. She has not been hospitalized for her condition for almost three years.
Sealey said her passion for service has influenced her career choice. “My goal from the beginning was to go into a field where I can help someone,” Sealey said. She is now pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering, and is hoping in the future to become involved with the development of prosthetics. At some point, Sealey would also like to teach college-level engineering classes.
“Being in the hospital and seeing different physically disabled people while volunteering made me decide that there are a lot of things that need to progress in prosthetics. Although kids are able to walk, I think that they should be able to run, skip, hop, and dance the way other kids are able to,” Sealey said.
Ever since she was six years old, Sealey said she has been drawn to CUA. She admired the campus whenever she passed it and heard “amazing” stories about the University from a family friend who graduated from the nursing school and cared for Sealey at home from time to time. “The way she spoke about CUA and the way I saw it matched up,” said Sealey.
“I never lost that feeling when I passed the campus or even met people, and it seemed like an environment that screamed an excellent education and a community of love,” Sealey said. “I believe that everything happens for a reason … I think that coming to CUA was fate.”