Class of 2013
Montgomery Center, VT
Favorite weekend activity: Dancing, reading, enjoying the outdoors
Career Plans: Becoming a midwife and yoga instructor
"Johnson's strong sense of community has led to my taking pride in myself and my work because I feel connected to those around me, and I want to make a difference on campus and be involved."
Kari Skurdall started her college career at a small, elite women's college, where she experienced "an existential crisis" and a health scare.
"I became sick and had to drop out of school. I went through all the health-care systems, where patients were made to feel like objects," she recalls. "It took going through a medical crisis to discover that I had a passion for healing and for my own health."
During an extensive soul search, Kari also discovered Johnson State.
"I do take my studies seriously. At Johnson, I feel I can enjoy being an avid student instead of feeling pressured to perform," she says. "I think many institutions emphasize academic performance without recognizing a student's need for a balanced college experience. At JSC, one is free to nurture oneself socially, athletically, environmentally, and artistically while simultaneously applying oneself as a student." Kari's own experience with the health-care system propelled her into the Wellness & Alternative Medicine (WAM) Program.
"The WAM major seeks to examine what our society can change in it's allopathic medical model to allow patients to truly heal," she explains. "A lot of my major's courses revolve around the concept of life-style prevention and mindfullness with regard to stress reduction. WAM has made me increasingly aware of the debilitating health effects stress has on the body and how active mindfullness can counteract this societal trend." Kari wants to merge this mindfulness with her chosen career path: as a holistic nurse-midwife, delivering babies at home and in birthing centers. She also hopes to study at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts.
"I would love to dedicate my career to bringing new life into the world," she says. "Part of the WAM major is exploring the holistic side to medicine but also objectively examining the Western Model we are seemingly going against. Both have a great deal of historical relevance and integrity, and it would behoove me to get my nursing degree after my tenure at Johnson in order to compliment the allopathic model of birthing with my own holistic practice."
At Johnson State, Kari also been able to explore her other major interests: women's issues and dance. She has been involved in Students Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and in the JSC Dance Club.
"Johnson has an amazing Dance Club. I've been choreographing and performing in our two annual dance shows," she says. "Being at such a small campus, I can take on more leadership roles and be more empowered."
As a resident assistant, she encourages others to become involved on campus.
"Johnson's strong sense of community has led to my taking pride in myself and my work because I feel connected to those around me, and I want to make a difference on campus and be involved," she says. "I love how active the professors are; they are involved and approachable. I feel comfortable with the administration. Johnson is a great place to learn and grow. I feel like I'm becoming myself here."