Michelle Kelly Arcata, CA
Many people dream of using their education to serve people in other parts of the world. Michelle Kelly made that dream a reality. As a nurse practitioner, educator and expert in war zone relief operations, Michelle has helped civilians affected by war over the last 20 years. Her volunteer humanitarian work has taken her from her first job as an RN on the nearby Hoopa reservation to Afghanistan, Angola, Iraq, Kashmir, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Kosovo and Uganda.
"Relief work is not glamorous, I deal with the warring parties, which are usually both rebel and government forces. Civilians are caught in the middle and the challenge is to provide aid to those in need. It can be dangerous," Michelle explains. "Having said that, I knew ever since I was young that I wanted to help others. I was raised with the belief that if you are doing well and have something to spare, that you turn around and help someone else. It's a belief that's served me well."
Somehow, despite an incredibly busy schedule of ongoing humanitarian work, Kelly also manages to inspire a new generation of HSU students as a dedicated lecturer in the Department of Nursing. "More students are coming to Humboldt State these days with a global view—they're interested in international work," says Michelle. "I'm glad I can bring them that experience."