Meet Anna Edelman, who attended MMFS in the early 2000s. She recently reconnected with her former teacher Michelle Carfagna over Facebook.
Anna shared warm and happy memories of MMFS, and told us her inspiring story. She was adopted from Russia at age 3½, and attended MMFS through 7th grade. She studied Psychology at Fairfield University, but says she knew by her second semester that she wanted to pursue health care as a profession, based in part on her experience caring for mother when she had cancer. After receiving her BA, she entered an accelerated program at NYU and in 15 months had a degree in nursing. Anna is now a registered nurse in the Neuro-surgical ICU at Mount Sinai Hospital here in New York City.
When the pandemic hit last March, Anna’s unit had to become a COVID unit, and the nurses had to split their time to take care of COVID patients. Anna says that even the most experienced ICU medical staff felt they had never seen anything like it. It required a lot of fast, critical thinking that, too often, wasn’t enough. There was a big learning curve, she said, but it was also a growth experience. Working with COVID patients, Anna came to realize that she would like to pursue palliative and hospice care. She found that a connection to family—which was reduced to Zoom calls on an iPad during the worst of the pandemic—was extremely valuable. Now she wants to be part of both the living and the dying process, and to provide support to families.
Anna credits her early years at MMFS with providing a firm foundation for learning that served her well in later years. She also cites the warm emotional support the school provided. Anna (whom we knew as “Anyuta,” a Russian diminutive for “Anna”) recalls returning to school after becoming a U.S. citizen, and being greeted with a big American flag and a “Congratulations Anyuta” sign. She told us, “Silent Meeting was hard, but I loved the queries. It started the day on a positive note.” She also remembers being bathed in support after 9/11, particularly by her teacher that year, Michelle Carfagna.
Michelle, who is still teaching at the lower school, remembers Anna as “very hard-working and always trying her best. She had a strong will and was able to use it to persevere in future years, both academically and socially. It does not surprise me at all that Anna chose a career that helps and supports people.”
Anna advises MMFS students to “think about how much you can provide to your community in a way that suits your needs and ability. Everybody has something to contribute.” She added that she would be happy to talk with anyone who is interested in entering a healthcare profession. (Reach out to MMFS and we’ll put you in touch.)