Plaid Works

Ernikka Johnson: Campbell Scholar, KCP Peer Mentor

“I love helping students. A lot of students have trouble branching out and making friendships. As a mentor, I’m there to provide encouragement and advice.” — Ernikka Johnson

<em>KCP peer mentors</em>KCP peer mentors

Ernikka Johnson has unusual advice for first-generation students like herself who are contemplating college: “Get uncomfortable.”

A graduate of the Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine in Detroit, Ernikka enrolled at Alma College as part of the Campbell Scholars Program. At the time, it was an uncomfortable decision for the Detroit student who would be the first from her family to attend college. But it’s a decision she doesn’t regret.

“It’s okay to be uncomfortable and to keep pushing through,” says Ernikka, who is on track to graduate in 2019. “My freshman year, I was definitely uncomfortable, and I’m glad. People get so trapped into their bubble, but going to college can challenge you to consider new ideas, meet new people and try new things.”

Ernikka overcame her uncomfortableness and jumped into campus life. In her sophomore year, she was a resident assistant in Bruske Hall and served as a peer mentor through the King-Chavez-Parks Mentor Program. She also joined the Alma College Union Board and the Multicultural Club.

<em>From left: Alma students Ernikka Johnson, Dylan Demo, Abrar Haydar and Brandon Harper participated on a student panel that addressed the importance of diversity in health management education at the 2017 Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) Annual Meeting in Long Beach, Calif.</em>From left: Alma students Ernikka Johnson, Dylan Demo, Abrar Haydar and Brandon Harper participated on a student panel that addressed the importance of diversity in health management education at the 2017 Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) Annual Meeting in Long Beach, Calif.“I love helping students,” she says. “A lot of students have trouble branching out and making friendships. As a mentor, I’m there to provide encouragement and advice.”

Ernikka is pursuing a major in health care administration with dreams of working for the United Nations’ World Health Organization. She has participated in the Foundations of Emergency Management spring term class that included travel to health agencies in Michigan and Canada. She also had opportunities to attend a healthcare conference in California and present research at a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) symposium in Emmitsburg, Md.

“I am privileged to be at Alma College and appreciate the Campbell Scholar funding that enabled me to enroll,” she says. “But I also know that I have to work hard to stay at Alma. It’s an amazing program. Without it, I would still be sitting in my room watching ‘Heroes.’”

Story published on August 16, 2017