About Madison Gardner

Madison Gardner is a sophomore almost half way through her first year in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing undergraduate program at The Ohio State University. She conducts research regarding epigenetic factors contributing to the development of hypertension in utero, which compliments her interest in pediatrics. Madison will graduate with Honors Research Distinction from the College of Nursing in the spring of 2020. Until then, she looks forward to accumulating as much clinical experience as possible in different settings. She is seeking a nurse assistant position for the summer of 2018 in the Columbus, Ohio area.

350 Words Away From the Rest of My Life

Almost one year ago the application for admission to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing undergraduate program, and almost one year ago I was extraordinarily close to losing my mind when I realized that a mere three hundred and fifty words stood between me and my future in nursing. For years I had been dreaming of earning admission to an undergraduate nursing program and for the first time I had doubts that I would be able to produce a composition that would convince a committee of my worthiness to be in the program. Below I have included the essay prompt and response that I slaved over for months, which thankfully was persuasive enough for the BSN admission committee to grant me a place in the 2020 nursing class. So here they are, the 350 words that I chose to dictate my chances of getting into Ohio State’s Nursing Program:


The College of Nursing is committed to ensuring a positive, nurturing, and safe environment by respecting and affirming the diversity of individual’s identities, backgrounds and points of view. How do you see yourself contributing to and supporting this commitment in the nursing profession? 

Being of mixed ethnic origins myself, I can empathize with individuals who experience conflicting and troubling feelings about their identity and their role in their communities. Beginning in elementary school, classmates would singularly attribute my academic success to the fact that I was half Asian. This ongoing experience was particularly upsetting to me because I never associated my rigorous study habits and passion for learning with my heritage. It is from these challenging moments that I have arrived at the belief that people are not defined by what they look like, and that the potential to succeed in any discipline of life comes from within. Additionally, I have learned that every experience, every interaction, is a platform for personal growth and progress. My commitment to fostering my own self-worth enables me to continuously expand my understanding of not only myself, but my community and the world around me.

Within more recent years, I have become more comfortable with my heritage and even accepted a leadership role in a retreat for my peers my senior year of high school. One of my responsibilities was to prepare a speech in which I discussed my ideals and values. In the opening lines of my speech I shared, “Our values are fundamental to our existence, without them, we would be missing a part of ourselves. If I were a house, my values would be the framework: the support system hidden underneath my exterior layers of decorative paint and embellishments.” Today I am not bothered when people judge my decorative paint and embellishments, because I honestly think my squinty eyes and dark brown hair are awesome and I would not change them for the world. It is a brave decision to be true to yourself, however it is not a task anyone is meant to accomplish alone. My values regarding diversity have been fortified from my experiences and align with the College of Nursing’s commitment to respecting and affirming diversity. My passion for this subject allows me be an example of tolerance and an advocate for those struggling with or oppressed because of their identity.

Eighteen Years

Eighteen years may seem like a long time, but it was not enough time for my friend Ryan. Almost a year ago I found out Ryan was in a serious accident resulting in severe and irreversible brain damage. The following days were hosts to some of the most frustrating and conflicting emotions I have ever felt. Day after day I received updates from his older brother across the country showing no progress, leaving me feeling helpless, alone, and devastated because this time, medicine was not the answer. Never before in my own experiences had medical practices let me down. Amongst this sadness however, I witnessed an incredible thing: a community of people who knew Ryan, unifying in an effort to supply hope and celebrate the incredible life he had lived. People who knew him for a variety of reasons shared stories and memories, all with a common recognition of the undeniable joy and consideration he demonstrated with everyone he encountered. 

After two weeks of surgeries and treatments with no improvement, Ryan’s family decided to donate his organs. I vividly recall the day he was taken off of life support; I began to feel a sense of comfort and peace, realizing that Ryan continues to live on in the lives of the recipients of his organs and in the hearts of everyone blessed to have known him. This experience inspired me to consider what sort of impact I can make on the lives of others through a career in nursing. I aspire one day for patients and coworkers to remember me as being considerate, caring, and purposeful, because I realize the significance of exemplifying these traits, like Ryan did. It is with gratitude that I miss my friend Ryan, because he taught me that trust is earned not given, encouraged me to always be a part of the solution, and reminded me that we have so much to be grateful for. 

Here is a Facebook post I made in October 2016 after having some time to reflect on Ryan’s life and death:

In loving tribute to the life and memory of Ryan Abele.

Ryan Abele, or Rabele as I liked to call him, has been an immeasurable blessing in the lives of so many, including my own. It is challenging to imagine a world without the light, love, and laughs that Ryan brought to every situation. Rabele was truly one of a kind and will never be forgotten.

Rather than the conventional “hey!” or “what’s up?” Rabele and I would often greet each other in the hallways by saying, “what goes on?” While I’m not entirely sure of this origin of this phrase we would use, I am certain that ‘what goes on’ is the immense love and passion that Ryan willingly shared with everyone he met. ‘What goes on’ is the example he set for how to be a true friend and an honorable man. ‘What goes on’ are his undeniably funny sayings that everyone loved and continue to use. ‘What goes on’ is the tremendous gratitude in the hearts of those blessed to have known him.

You stay cute up there Rabele, love you always, Mads

Ryan’s accident happened four days after my nineteenth birthday and he passed away being only eighteen years old. Within those eighteen years Ryan was able to touch the hearts of so many people and truly make an impact on every person he met because of his honest disposition, gentle confidence, and genuine kindness. Not a day has gone by since during which I have not considered the significance of this difference in time. I feel incredibly blessed to have gotten as much time in this life as I have so far, and I intend to make the absolute most of it while I can. This intense, insatiable desire to be purposeful now–not after I graduate, not once I have a job, but right now–drives me to be my self best everyday. Most recently, I attribute my lengthy efforts to obtain an undergraduate research position to this determination of mine to make a difference as soon and as often as I can. Without Ryan’s passing I honestly do not think I would be as motivated to make a positive impact on the world through a future in nursing as I do today. I carry this excitement and sincere appreciation for life with me everyday and I look forward to seeing where it takes me next.