“Have faith, ambition and determination!” These are the words of Guerda Julien (B.G.S., general studies, ’17). She never gave up her dreams of education or her passion of service to others, despite facing many hardships in life. Now, she inspires others to persevere.
Guerda was born in Haiti and grew up there with her 17 siblings. As a young adult, she became a nun and served as a teacher and principal at a school for poor children. After becoming legally blind in 2000, she moved to the United States to undergo procedures to improve her vision.
In and out of multiple surgeries, Guerda continued to volunteer her services to others. She ministered to inmates and cooked meals at the Salvation Army. After five procedures, she was able to read large print. With the help of TRIO Student Support Services, she enrolled at Ivy Tech.
Guerda received her associate degree from Ivy Tech in 2013. She went on to receive her Bachelor of General Studies with two minors (psychology and human services) from IPFW in 2017. She was awarded the Indiana TRIO Board of Directors Part-time Scholarship and named TRIO’s 2018 Student of the Year.
These days, Guerda works as a mental health technician at Parkview Behavioral Health. She also volunteers at the Rescue Mission, the Fort Wayne Kiwanis Club, and St. Jude’s School. “As a missionary,” Guerda says, “my vocation is love and service.” Her “love for people” and “the compassion I have for all humankind” influence her work and her pursuit of a graduate certificate in organizational leadership from Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Read more about Guerda in this inspirational interview on the Parkview Health website. Thanks to Shubitha Kever at TRIO SSS for the pictures and additional information.