Jinaa Lane (1st Quarter, 2007)

by Josh Barsch on August 20, 2010

1st Quarter, 2007
Dale E. Fridell Scholarship Winner
Jinaa Lane
College of St. Catherine

For more than 15 years I have been employed in positions that would keep me in a state of vulnerability and survival mode. I decided I owed it to myself to go after my childhood dream of having a career in medicine. Since I was a child I’ve had a love for medicine. My fervor for medicine was strengthened as I listened to many women who faced surmountable barriers as they searched for a physician that could give them resolution as to why their bodies were ailing them. They experienced extreme cramping in the abdominal area, sudden enlarged abdomens, bleeding profusely during their menstrual cycle and other ailments. These women were faced with physicians who had no answers that could help them with their medical problems. I wanted to know why there were no answers for these women. I learned there was little medical research for women’s health. My desire to find answers for these women became the career path I would choose for myself.

My passion for preventative medicine in women’s health through health management and holistic medicine drove me to pursue a college education. I began attending the Minneapolis Community Technical College (MCTC) majoring in Liberal Arts with intentions of transferring to a 4 year university. I graduated from MCTC with an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts in May 2005. I transferred to The College of St. Catherine’s in the Fall 2005 semester to pursue a baccalaureate degree in biology. However, I changed my major to Food and Nutrition/Pre-Medicine with a minor in Exercise Science because I would like to focus on preventative medicine in women’s health as it relates to health management.

The Dale E. Fridell Memorial Scholarship is a part of my roadmap to close the door on being dependent on the government’s assistance and open the pathway to self-sufficiency and independence. Receiving the Dale E. Fridell Memorial Scholarship will allow me the opportunity to excel in my educational career and continue to make strides toward my goal of working in the medical field while teaching my daughter to never give up on her dreams and by assisting me with payment for tuition and books. I have experienced domestic violence, economic hardship and disparity most of my life. I do not want my daughter to suffer as I did. My life will be a beacon of hope to my daughter where she will learn she can do whatever she sets her mind to. God has empowered me and given me the will to succeed and that is what I intend to do.

A Portion of Jinaa’s Winning Essay:

My name is Jinaa Lane, and I am a 32 year old single mother currently attending the College of St. Catherine day program full time to successfully complete a bachelors of science degree in Dietetics/Food Science. Before my college career, life was pretty difficult for me. I have known the bitter taste of poverty and despair for too long. Being free from the death grip of poverty has been a long awaited dream of mine. I have had the unfortunate experience of living a life of hardship and despair from my childhood into my adult life.

Jinaa Lane

Presently, my main goal is to become self-sufficient financially so that I may be able to support myself and my daughter without help from the government. Hence, my ultimate passion is to be able to help people who do not have the power to help themselves through the knowledge, skills and experience I intend to acquire from receiving a postsecondary education. I have had difficulty achieving my dream of self-sufficiency due to a number of obstacles that have become stumbling blocks in my life.

I was born and raised in Chicago, IL to a wonderful mother and an abusive father. I grew up in an environment that was ruled by violence and abuse done to women. My biological father was a man who used drugs and alcohol and abused my mother often. The abuse ended when my father murdered her in front of me when I was 4 years old. I was adopted into a family that was emotionally unstable. My adopted father was also abusive towards my adopted mother and very distant from his children. He revealed to me when I was older that he did not love me and my biological siblings and expressed how he was in disagreement with the adoption. This tore me up inside and drove me to a life of hatred of men. The cycle of abuse did not end with me leaving home to escape the continuous fighting and beatings I received.

Later in my life I became involved in an abusive relationship. I never knew the love of a father, but I did know that I wanted to be loved by a man since my adopted and biological father never did. I remained in that relationship for four years continuously fighting the mental and physical abuse I tolerated in the relationship. I was mentally trapped in the relationship and did not know how to escape. I lost all of my self-worth, my pride and my material things and gained a massive amount of debt. The first step I took to regain my power and my self-respect was to start seeking God for guidance. I began attending Giving and Grace Christian Center. Along with receiving guidance from God, I began an empowerment class with the Jeremiah Program-a self-sufficiency program aimed to assist low-income single mothers. I was able to free myself from the shackles of the abusive relationship I had with my daughter’s father that kept me in bondage emotionally and physically. I finally opened my eyes, and I began to realize that I deserve a better life for myself and for my child. I needed to prove to myself that I am capable of standing strong and building myself up to be the strong and courageous woman I know I am. I moved into the Jeremiah program where I began to rebuild my self-esteem and learn to love myself again.


I also had to rebuild my financial state. I had accumulated a lot of debt and needed to restore my credit. Becoming a resident of the Jeremiah Program helped me learn to control my emotions, rebuild my self-esteem, begin the process of gaining control of my emotional and financial health and ultimately, understanding the concept that no relationship is healthy if it is killing your spirit, soul and body. In addition to the emotional and physical abuse I endured in the relationship with my daughter’s father, I was fighting a battle with juvenile diabetes. Three years ago I learned that I have diabetic retinopathy-detachment of the retina. The retina in my left eye was partially detached from my eye, and I had to undergo surgery to reattach the retina. Since a portion of the retina had completely detached from my eye, the doctor would have to laser the edge of the retina to reattach the retina to my eye. Unfortunately, this process cost me my peripheral vision. I am learning to live with partial vision in my left eye.

With all the obstacles I have faced, I will not stop trying to achieve my dream of self-sufficiency and financial independence. As an African-American woman I desire to strive for excellence. I want to be in a position to help people who do not have a voice. I intend to use my testimony as a healing tool for other families experiencing domestic violence. I want to be instrumental in the fight against domestic violence. My mission someday will be to reach out to the millions of women who face domestic abuse. I want to show them that there is another way. You do not have to live your life in constant fear in order to be loved. You have to love yourself. It is your responsibility to know your worth. You must be able to look in the mirror and say “I am lovable, important, and valuable”. This is my God given right and nobody can take that away from me.

So much has been taken from humanity, but I want to be able to give something back to it. In order to truly give back to the community and to help my daughter and myself, I have to become financially stable. My financial stability will be acquired through pursuing my love for medicine. Since I was a child I have had a love for medicine. My fervor for medicine was strengthened as I listened to many women who faced overwhelming barriers as they searched for a physician that could give them resolution as to why their bodies were ailing them. They experienced extreme cramping in the abdominal area, sudden enlarged abdomens, bleeding profusely during their menstrual cycle and other ailments. These women were faced with physicians who had no answers that could help them with their medical problems. I wanted to know why there were no answers for these women. I learned there was little medical research for women’s health. My desire to find answers for these women became the career path I would choose for myself.

My passion for preventative medicine in women’s health through health management and holistic medicine drove me to pursue a college education. I began attending the Minneapolis Community Technical College (MCTC) majoring in Liberal Arts during the fall semester of 2000 with intentions of transferring to a 4-year university. I graduated from MCTC with an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts in May 2005. I transferred to The College of St. Catherine’s in the fall 2005 semester to pursue a bachelor of arts degree in biology with approximately 80 credits acquired from MCTC. I changed my major to Nutrition/Pre-Medicine with a minor in Exercise Science because I would like to focus on preventative medicine in women’s health as it relates to health and wellness. My ultimate dream and long term career goal is to become a doctor specializing in women’s health with relations to health management. I have considered the fact that medical school can be extremely time consuming and will separate me from spending time with my daughter. Therefore, I have considered alternative paths that will lead me to my goal of being a doctor, not necessarily a medical doctor. I have considered entering the graduate program in Dietetics and Holistic Medicine at the College of St. Catherine or pursuing enrollment in the Physician Assistant program at Augsburg College as options. Since I have three semesters at The College of St. Catherine to complete my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nutrition/Pre-Medicine, my short term career goal includes finding an internship in public health or nutritional education. I am currently working with the Dean of Health Professions at the College of St. Catherine to be admitted into an internship program that works with low income teenage girls in nutritional education and healthy living to gain practical experience. I am also researching the Berman Institute, which is connected with the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, for possible internships. The Berman Institute is a medical research center that focuses on women’s health research while linking the effectiveness of nutritional values and holistic medicine. I am in the process of applying for membership with the American Dietetics Association; with this membership comes other opportunities especially for those of us who are students.

Eventually, I will be in a position to contribute to the community by working with clinics in low income areas by volunteering and providing information to educate our society on healthy living, especially regarding issues of breast, cervical and ovarian cancer. I believe it is important for women to be educated about their bodies and knowledgeable of how to prevent medical problems that are lurking genetically, environmentally and from just plain lack of information. My mission is to educate women locally and globally on protecting their bodies and being healthy.
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