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2024 Electee


Elizabeth Osa-Agbontaen

Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing, 2026

Tell us about yourself and why you would like to serve as the Student Trustee for UMass Chan? 

My name is Elizabeth Osa-Agbontaen, RN, a DNP1 -FNP student at the Tan Chignfen Graduate School of Nursing. As a nurse, I naturally strive to create an environment where people feel valued, respected, and empowered, because with empowerment comes change and advancement. As someone deeply committed to student advocacy and community engagement, my journey from high school through my current tenure at UMass Chan has been marked by a consistent dedication to uplifting student voices and addressing systemic challenges. This trajectory has equipped me with a unique set of skills and experiences that I believe make me well-suited for the role of Student Trustee.

I believe that regardless of the school we're in here at UMass Chan, we all share a common realization of entering a system that is in need of repair. It's unrealistic to expect one person or those currently well established in the system to effect the needed change before our arrival in these spaces. Therefore, as student trustee, I envision maximizing our time and graduate experience by collectively striving towards improving tomorrow's healthcare system. Patient outcomes are significantly improved when collaborative efforts are in play, highlighting the importance of normalizing interdisciplinary engagement. What better place to put this to the test than right here at UMass Chan, we have the privilege of being part of an institution that embodies three professions that are at the forefront of innovation and leading the way in their respective fields within the realm of medicine. As future healthcare professionals, we have the opportunity to lead the way in establishing a healthcare system built on collaboration and interdisciplinary practice. 

Please identify your top three goals if you were to serve in this position in the coming year. 

First, I aim to enhance Diversity and Inclusion by promoting initiatives that celebrate the unique backgrounds and experiences of all students at UMass Chan. This involves collaborating with administration and student organizations to promote a more equitable and welcoming campus environment. With supporting student organization and institutional efforts of cultural celebration events that showcase the diversity within UMass Chan.

Secondly, I seek to strengthen Community Engagement by collaborating with neighboring colleges and universities in Worcester to organize joint events or workshops focused on interdisciplinary topics, such as healthcare innovation or community health initiatives. While partnering to provide volunteer opportunities or internships for students, allowing them to gain real-world experience while contributing to the community. Lastly, I plan on hosting networking events or panels featuring alumni who have successfully transitioned to various roles in healthcare, providing insights and opportunities for current students to connect with professionals in their field of interest. 

Third, I am committed to ensuring that the concerns of UMass Chan students are heard at the highest levels of university governance. Through creating student advisory committees or task forces focused on specific issues or initiatives, allowing students to play an active role in decision-making processes and for students to track progress on addressing their concerns. 

How will you effectively represent the UMass Chan student body in this role? 

In this role, I will effectively represent the UMass Chan student body by prioritizing transparency, accessibility, and inclusivity in my approach to governance. I will actively listen to the concerns and feedback of students, ensuring that their voices are heard and amplified at all levels of decision-making within the institution. Additionally, I will work to build strong partnerships and collaborations with student organizations, faculty, administration, and other stakeholders to address the diverse needs and interests of our student body.

Furthermore, I will advocate for policies and initiatives that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, recognizing the importance of representing and supporting students from all backgrounds. I will strive to create opportunities for student engagement and involvement in shaping the direction of our institution, empowering them to contribute to positive change. Through open communication, advocacy, and collaborative leadership, I am committed to effectively representing the UMass Chan student body and ensuring that their interests and concerns are at the forefront. 

What previous experiences have you had that you feel have prepared you for the student trustee role? 

In recent years, as a graduate student at UMass Chan Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing, I've been actively involved in advocating for initiatives aimed at improving the student experience. Collaborating closely with various organizations within our community, including UMass Light-SMP, the Diversity and Inclusion Office, the Graduate School of Nursing Organization (GSNO), and the Student Government Association, I've worked to foster a supportive environment for all students, including the nursing students. Serving as one of the co-presidents of GSNO, I've organized events and initiatives to address the specific needs of nursing students. Additionally, my role as a GSN coordinator with UMass Light-SMP allowed me to introduce the nursing experience to the efforts of UMass light, over the last two years. Likewise, partnering with the Diversity and Inclusion Office, I advocated for systemic changes, such as academic support for the unique curriculum of GSN students within the Center of Academic Achievement. 

Collaboration with the Graduate School of Nursing, Diversity and Inclusion Office, Office of Wellness-being, and UMass Light-SMP led to the establishment of NCLEX workshops and a half-day retreat preparation program last year, aimed at enhancing resources and academic success for first-year graduate entry pathway students. Furthermore, as the founder and co-president of the African Student Association (ASA), I've prioritized promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. Advocating for the representation and support of African students within our community and raising awareness of cultural differences to provide better care for diverse patients in our city. My efforts through ASA have resulted in establishing a health initiative aimed at Empowering Wellness Within the African Community. These experiences have provided valuable insights into student needs and honed my ability to collaborate effectively with diverse stakeholders to drive positive change within our institution.