KPBSD Graduate Inspiration, Nianiella Dorvall, Nikolaevsk School, Class of 2014
“I believe it is important for people to dream big and know that they can be successful. Share your dreams with your family, teachers, and peers. They will become your support system and can help you in times of self-doubt and fear. They can also help you find opportunities unique to your interests.”
–Nianiella Dorvall, Nikolaevsk School, Class of 2014
She is young, determined, inspirational, and changing the world. Meet Nianiella Dorvall, a 2014 graduate from Nikolaevsk School, a small school located on the Kenai Peninsula in Nikolaevsk, Alaska.
In the not quite five years since her high school graduation, she has studied overseas in Ireland, shadowed doctors in Hungary, and traveled to Germany, Austria, and Ukraine. In 2016 she graduated with an associate’s degree in Biology from Skagit Valley College, Mount Vernon, Washington, and in 2018 earned a global leadership certificate and bachelor’s degree in zoology at Washington State University. She is currently studying for her Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) on her path to becoming a doctor, and working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at the long-term care unit at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska.
Nianiella is in the right place in this time of her life, and says,
“It is my dream to become a doctor, work in Alaska, and volunteer overseas with Doctors Without Borders for a while. In order to become a doctor, I must undergo a lot of training but I believe I am at the right place at the right time. Each day that I arrive at work, I learn something new. I learn how to be a better, compassionate, empathetic individual capable of making someone who feels truly lost feel better. These skills will serve me well as a doctor. I think that doctors hold a position of trust and respect with the public. As such, many people seek out answers and comfort from what and how doctors say things. The skills of a CNA will expand my repertoire of knowledge about how to help individuals not only medically, but also mentally and emotionally. The elders I work with have taught me a lot of who I am as a person and who I want to be as a doctor. I know that there is still a lot that I can learn from them and my coworkers. So while I study to take the MCAT, I will continue to expand my appreciation for medicine and knowledge of interacting with residents at South Peninsula Hospital.”
In March 2019, Dorvall attended a Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meeting to assist with a school report from Nikolaevsk School. She spoke eloquently for seven minutes to the school board, and demonstrated no visible fear about public speaking. About overcoming obstacles, Dorvall explains, “Fear is one of the largest obstacles that I have faced and continue to face. For example, fear of public speaking or fear of traveling to an unknown country by yourself. I have learned it is okay to be afraid as long as you look fear in the face and do it anyway. I have found that is one of the best ways to learn and grow as an individual. To complete a task or go through a situation while you are afraid shows determination, courage, and the ability to overcome one’s own weakness.”
Niella values play, fun, and exploration, saying, “I love to play sports when possible. When not possible, I love to read and research places I would like to visit someday. I even go as far as planning the trip from plane ride to hotels to hikes and to restaurants.”
Tips from the future Dr. Dorvall…
- Take every opportunity presented to you and run with it. Life may be full with opportunities but they are wide and varied. Those presented to you while you are young will help you grow as an individual and will open up more opportunities in the future. However, the future will have other responsibilities that will make it difficult to accept these opportunities so take them now.
- Do not be afraid to use your voice to respectfully advocate for something important to you. It may seem daunting to express your ideas and opinions, but if you do not, you may regret it later.
- Travel whenever possible. The people and cultures you will meet in your travels will broaden your understanding of the world and will expand your love for people. There is much to learn from strangers even in a fleeting conversation.
- Do not forget your roots. The culture in which you were raised is critical to your identity of self. It is within that culture and community where you developed morals, values, perspectives, beliefs, and traditions that make you who you are as an individual. Do not lose yourself to the greater society. Stay true to yourself and your roots.
In this season of her life, studying for MCATs, and working as a CNA, she says, “My favorite aspect of work is walking through the doors and seeing the residents faces light up with happiness. I know that I make a difference in their day. There are difficult days but knowing that I am helping an individual live out the remainder of their lives with dignity, respect, and care is worth every difficulty.”
Do you have a story tip about a KPBSD graduate to profile in our Wednesday Inspiration? Kindly email Pegge Erkeneff, KPBSD communications liaison, Pegge@KPBSD.org.