Mariah Nedrow (NTHS '09) - Health Care
Meet Mariah Nedrow, Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) at Lydia Hawk Elementary and former South Bay Elementary, Chinook Middle School and North Thurston High School Alumna (class of 2009)! Her experience in the Army Reserves, traveling abroad and guidance from teachers helped her get to where she is in life now, caring for others and saving lives.
After high school, Nedrow joined the Army Reserves as a Preventive Medicine Specialist. While attending Everest Technical College in Tacoma where she worked towards her Medical Assistant certification, she was deployed to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras and assigned to the medical element (MEDEL) unit as part of the hospital team.
She then moved to California and eventually changed her Military Occupational Specialty to a Licensed Practical Nurse. Later she graduated from the Army Practical Nurse course at Fort Bliss in 2017.
In high school, Nedrow felt there was a lot of emphasis put on Advanced Placement classes and getting into college for a four-year degree. “It never really fit my desires for a career,” she explains. “I went against the grain with a lot of things and didn’t buy into whatever was going on with the popular kids." Nedrow was also part of the girls bowling team and was active in drama. “I have wonderful memories of working closely with Ms. Deneen on a lot of the productions North Thurston put on.” One of Nedrow’s middle school teachers, Mr. Wind, introduced her to theater and that’s where her love for the performing arts blossomed.
Nedrow had many teachers who helped pave the way for her including Mrs. Meyer, Mrs. McGregor, Ms. King, Ms. Rowell, Ms. Deneen, Mr. Gentry and Mr. Pittelkau. “I was not the easiest student for any of these teachers,” explains Nedrow. “I have always been outspoken and opinionated, and did not have very much direction during my teen years. In one way or another, these teachers helped me through some very insecure times and helped me learn it was okay to be different, even if it took me years later to realize it.”
Mr. Pittelkau encouraged Nedrow and her best friend, Jackie Wellman to join the army reserve unit. He was in command of the 898th Preventive Medicine Detachment at Fort Lewis. “Thanks to Mr. Pittelkau for uniting Jackie and I as we are still best friends to this day,” said Nedrow. “I helped Jackie deliver her firstborn child in a beautiful home birth with her midwife and husband back in 2015.”
Currently, Nedrow is a school nurse at Lydia Hawk Elementary, where she works as a 1:1 LPN/Paraeducator with a Life Skills student. “Pediatric nursing is what pulls on my heart strings because you have these beautifully innocent children who may be scared and sick.” Nedrow also works at St. Peter Hospital in the main operating room as an anesthesia support nurse, working in surgery a few times a month. Occasionally she will see her middle school science and math teachers volunteering at the hospital.
Being a nurse and working in a hospital, Nedrow has learned to adapt quickly with the constant changes and unknowns from the pandemic. Occasionally she would see patients coming in for an emergency surgery and their COVID status was unknown. “It is always difficult in a trauma situation, but adding in the concern of if I would be taking something home to my family or putting them at risk was difficult,” said Nedrow.
To help cope, Nedrow spent a lot of time outdoors during the summer and going to the river with her kids. “I’m just trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy,” she said. One positive is Nedrow gets to work with her mother in the same department at the hospital, so they did not have to quarantine from each other.
In her free time, Nedrow enjoys Asian cuisine and finding new sushi restaurants when she travels. “One of my favorite sushi places is in a basement restaurant in the heart of San Francisco.” She is also an Airbnb enthusiast and likes to plan trips based off interesting places she finds online. In the little spare time she has, she likes to read, garden, and spend time outdoors.
Nedrow has some advice for students:
- Don’t self-sabotage yourself: “A lot of times we hold ourselves back from our full potential because things are difficult and scary. People in your life will doubt you simply because they don’t understand your vision. It is okay to go slow and ask for help. Every day be a little bit better of a person and a little bit more of your true self. Work on your goals quietly and with privacy. No one will ever care about your dreams or your goals as much as you do.”
- Travel: “One of the biggest life lessons I learned was living in a country where English was not the first language. Your perspective on the world changes when you are the minority. I think experiencing life as a minority gives us more patience, tolerance, and understanding to people who have different backgrounds from us. If you ever get the opportunity to travel to a different country, do not miss out on it. You will be a better person because of it.”