Student Perspective: AARC Involvement Leads to New Relationships

 Published: January 31, 2018

By: Heather Willden


student perspective graphic

By Andi Gann

Photo of Andi Gann
Andi Gann is a second year student at Missouri Southern State University’s respiratory therapy program in Joplin Missouri

As a student member of the AARC, I have attended so much and experienced things that are unforgettable. Our state society selects two student liaisons to attend the state meetings, as well as Congress, which was funded by the state society. This year I had the chance to attend the House of Delegates meeting as well as the Board of Directors meeting in Indianapolis.

Attending these events opened doors for me that I would never have dreamed of opening. I was shown another world of respiratory care and given a huge networking opportunity. Overall, I now have so much insight to how much work goes into our state and national societies

At Congress in Indy, I met respiratory students from all over the country. It was interesting to see and learn how other schools, states, and even hospitals operate. It was awesome to meet new students that had a lot of interest into what goes on outside of the hospital and a desire to grow the profession in the coming years.

In my travels this past year, I have seen how different other states work in the respiratory departments and it gave me great information to bring back to my professors and other classmates.

I hope to one day start a scholarship program for the AARC so that more students may attend the Congress and House of Delegates. The 20 of us who attended in October 2017 discussed how much of an impact that attending these meetings had on us. These meetings were only 48 hours of our life, but left a lasting impact on us. I believe that an enhanced scholarship program will strengthen student membership and help post graduates continue their membership when they see how the AARC actually operates.

Being more involved in my state society this past year has also changed so much for me in such an amazing way. I am excited to see what is down the road for improvements for the profession in the years to come.

Andi Gann is a second year student at Missouri Southern State University’s respiratory therapy program in Joplin Missouri, and will be graduating with her bachelor’s degree in May 2018. After graduation, she plans to start her career at the University of Virginia, with the goal of pursuing a masters after gaining clinical experience.

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

Heading to the New Era

Elevate | Engage | Advocate | Educate

Copyright © 2024 American Association for Respiratory Care
9425 N. MacArthur Blvd, Suite 100, Irving, TX 75063-4706
(972) 243-2272  |