COVID-19 vaccination volunteers: Stories from our front line

By

Deanna Dent

Every day the ASU Sun Devil Fitness Center COVID-19 vaccination site inoculates hundreds of people thanks to the work of volunteers from the ASU community.

Students from around the university, staff members of Employee Health Services and faculty members take time out from teaching, studying and working to help this massive effort to keep our communities safe.

ASU News spoke with some of them to hear about their choice to volunteer, their struggles during this past year and what working at one of the thousands of vaccination sites nationwide means to them. Hear their stories in their own words:

Victoria Camarena

Video of COVID-19 Vaccination Volunteers: Victoria Camarena : Arizona State University (ASU)

For Victoria Camarena, the last year has been quite a struggle, from a cancer diagnosis and treatment to the loss of family members to COVID-19, all while working to graduate in May. 

Shayna Rosenstein

Video of COVID-19 Vaccination Volunteers: Shayna Rosenstein : Arizona State University (ASU)

Shayna Rosenstein faced a difficult situation when ASU transitioned to virtual learning in March 2020. With family back in New York City facing one of the first surges, she chose to spend time with family members in California and return in fall 2020. She spends two days a week at the vaccination center assisting in any way that she can.

Cheryl Schmidt

Video of COVID-19 vaccination volunteers: Cheryl Schmidt: Arizona State University (ASU)

Retired nurse and Army veteran Cheryl Schmidt sees every day as an opportunity to teach and avoid the dullness of retirement. Between teaching online courses, she finds time to oversee vaccination efforts and mentor Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation students as they learn to deliver vaccination shots.

Jacob Aguirre-Tavizon

Video of COVID-19 Vaccination Volunteers: Jacob Aguirre-Tavizon : Arizona State University (ASU)

Public health sophomore Jacob Aguirre-Tavizon would like nothing more than to attend a sporting event with walls of people cheering for their team and realizes that the first step toward that reality is vaccination. After being offered the opportunity in his public health class, he jumped at the chance to prepare for his future career and assist his community.

Liz Badalamenti

Video of COVID-19 Vaccination Volunteers: Elizabeth Badalamenti: Arizona State University (ASU)

Liz Badalamenti was a team of one when COVID-19 cases began appearing at ASU. The 15-year Sun Devil spent hours each day connecting COVID-19-positive employees with resources and monitoring their conditions and health before eventually turning over those responsibilities to a team of eight people. Today she has shifted back into her role in employee wellness, hosting Zoom sessions, webinars and assisting other registered nurses in the COVID-19 vaccination effort.

ASU has managed cases of COVID-19 since January 2020, a demanding journey that led to the creation of saliva-based COVID-19 tests, a daily health check app and a series of protocols on our campuses to fight the spread of the virus.

The next step? Vaccines. Learn more about who can get the vaccine and how to sign up.