Tyree reaffirms passion for medicine at Red Cross program

Tyree reaffirms passion for medicine at Red Cross program

By Jake Knabel, Director of Athletic Communications

One of 13 select participants from across the United States, Concordia University softball’s Julia Tyree continued pursuit of her passion during a stay in Washington, D.C., June 2-13 as part of the Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program. Motivated to help others, the pre-medicine student trained on how to run blood drives, learned from expert professionals and peers and saw a Washington Nationals baseball game in a summer trip that won’t soon be forgotten.

While the Major League Baseball game and visits to historical sites in D.C. were obvious highlights, Tyree says that the people she met made the biggest difference in reaffirming the career path she has chosen.

“The most rewarding thing about the American Red Cross/NAIA Leadership Program was the people I was able to meet,” Tyree said. “I was surrounded by some of the most amazing and inspiring people I have ever met in my life. The mentors were wonderful examples of how I want to live my life with such joy and passion. My colleagues were equally as impressive to me.”

Known as a great teammate and person by her peers, Tyree is already putting the things she learned in D.C. into practice. The native of Benicia, Calif., is making a difference in her hometown and will soon look to extend her service to the Concordia campus and Seward community.

“I am actually in the process of running a blood drive in my hometown in memory of my friend who just recently passed at my church,” Tyree said. “So my goal is to not only work blood drives in Nebraska, but in California too. Hopefully, I can get my phlebotomy license so that I can do more than just getting out the word.”

A standout hitter on last season’s national tournament qualifying Bulldog squad, Tyree has been consistent in stating her desire to improve the lives of others. The junior Californian, who won the title of “most inspirational” on her high school team, shows maturity beyond her years, as evidenced by her reflection upon her D.C. experience.

“The most important thing that I learned from this program is that people matter more than your job or title,” Tyree said. “Every day you are creating your eulogy and no one is going to talk about how much you made or your title. They will talk about how you make them feel. I also learned leadership skills, especially when working with people. The best quote that I took away was ‘respect demanded is respect lost.’ This is critical playing a team sport because you have to earn anything that you get.”

When Tyree and the other students of the program stepped away from blood drive training and soaking up valuable knowledge, they had fun. They toured historical monuments, went to a concert, bonded over commonalities and shared laughs.

“This entire trip was a blast,” Tyree said. “We went to a Nationals-Phillies game. One of the mentors was also from near San Francisco so we both wore our Giants shirts. After the game, there was a Plain White T’s concert and some of the people even got on the video board.

“There was a 24-hour gym in the American Red Cross building so late at night after all of our activities, there would be a group of us who would go down, blast music and work out. Most of the time we got distracted and ended up laughing the entire time.”

Tyree plans to attend medical school after she completes her Concordia career, which has been sterling through two years. A middle-of-the order hitter and key pitcher for head coach Todd LaVelle, Tyree is back home sharpening her skills with the help of her father Doyle and a local team that has welcomed her to practices.

With summer moving quickly, Tyree knows she will soon be back in Nebraska, where she will undoubtedly positively impact others both on and off the playing field.

“I’m really excited to come back and see my Nebraska family,” Tyree said. “I’ll actually be heading back about a week early to visit UNMC (University of Nebraska Medical Center) to shadow a doctor there. I’m excited for the upcoming blood drive because I have so many ideas that I want to try. Not to mention I get to play another season of Concordia softball! I know that my seasons are numbered so I really want to cherish every moment I get to spend on the dirt.”

For more insight on the experiences of Tyree and others involved in the Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program, visit the group's blog HERE.

16 July 2014