Fulfilling the Dream-UACCB student thrives in fast-paced medical environment
Editor’s Note: In honor of Black History Month, the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville would like to highlight some of its outstanding students and their successes. This is the final installment in a four-part series.
Haili Williams-Steen does not rattle easily. In fact, the practical nursing student is a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie and thrives in the fast-paced environment of the trauma unit and emergency room.
“I really do like the gross and gory stuff,” she said laughing. “I don’t scare easy. I love the ER and trauma. I like to work at a fast pace. It’s never the same. There’s always something new.”
Williams-Steen, a Cave City native, is not one to back down from a challenge. After graduating from Batesville High School in 2016, she attended Arkansas Technical University for two semesters with the dream of becoming a physician. But Williams-Steen said her plans changed after she became a mother. Her desire to continue to pursue a career in the medical field led her to the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.
“My mother graduated from UACCB and was a student worker in the library when she was here. It’s nice to be at a smaller school where you really get to know your professors,” she said. “It’s much more personal here. My instructors care about me and my grades.”
Williams-Steen said that watching family members struggle with complex diseases including diabetes and cancer inspired her to enter the medical field. “My aunt died from diabetes in 2010. I’ve watched her give herself insulin injections. I also have family members who have cancer. I’ve always wanted to take care of people. I want to be the person that they can rely on.”
She said her educational journey has also helped her step into the role of educator for her family. “Me being in nursing school has helped my family make better decisions toward their own health.”
Williams-Steen said that while nursing school has been one of the hardest things she’s ever done, she has a strong support system, both on and off campus. “Ms. [Amanda] Cannon pushes us to be 100% all of the time. Ms. [Ashlyn] Canard really takes the time to explain the topics to us. And Ms. [Marietta] Candler always has really fun ways to trigger your memory. It has to be fun for me to learn, and Ms. Candler does that for me,” she said.
She added that the Career Pathways program has been a great benefit to her, giving particular thanks to her advisor, Cheyenne Diaz. “I can’t thank Cheyenne enough. He has really helped me during my time at UACCB. He’s helped me navigate college and made the experience so much better.
“I also have to thank God and my parents and my brother for always pushing me as well. My husband, Jaalyn, has been my rock and my study buddy,” she said. Williams-Steen and her husband have two children, Jaalyn, 3, and McKinley, 2.
Williams-Steen anticipates graduating in July and is considering working in Memphis or perhaps at UAMS in Little Rock. Overall, she said her career goal is very simple. “I want to help as many as I can and add as much as I can to each and every day.”