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Two NYCC Students Work to Combat Coronavirus as Members of the National Guard

Doctors in the making, Erin Hayden (D.C ‘22) and Frankie Donovan (D.C. ‘22) are working directly to address today’s healthcare crisis. As aerospace medical technicians in the Air National Guard, both women have been on the front lines helping fight the COVID-19 virus while at the same time wrapping up their winter trimester at New York Chiropractic College.

"It was not easy," said Hayden, who added that Dean of Chiropractic Karen Bobak and her other professors were compassionate and understanding, ensuring she had what she needed to prepare for and take her finals. Hayden helped track the spread of the virus by screening people on base at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse. She is also assisting individuals directly affected by COVID-19 to ensure they have access to the resources they need.

While Hayden was able to stay closer to campus, Donovan, president of NYCC’s graduating class of April 2022, was deployed to Long Island to perform swabbing as well as to work in the field hospitals tending to patients. Working in a “hot zone, where up to 1,200 people are tested daily, Donovan, dressed head to toe in personal protective gear, personally swabs up to 250 people each day to test for the coronavirus. She said being on the front lines of this illness has been full of humbling experiences, including moments of sorrow.

Bravely demonstrating their commitment to healthcare and humanity, Donovan and Hayden have found the balance and determination to continue their healthcare education while fulfilling their duties with the National Guard. Both are looking forward to good Spring Trimester, as their studies continue online, and reconnecting with friends and the NYCC community in person as soon as possible.

Erin Hayden (D.C. '22) by the NYCC entrance sign


Born and raised in Central New York, Erin embraces and enjoys the seasons that accompany life at NYCC. In the winter she goes snowboarding and skiing at local mountains, and during the summer she takes to the Lake Ontario, near her hometown, for some jet skiing. She also wants to Skydive.

Advice for new students and students new to online studies: "Don't put it off, it can be easy to do," she said. Also: "Use your plastic spine, use people at home. Don't adjust outside of school," Erin cautions. "Just put your hands on friends and family to figure out what it is you're learning."

Secrets to share: "I failed neuro. And that's O.K.," Erin said. "It happens. So, I had to modify. This is how I look at it: The first time I took it was like reading a dictionary and now it's like reading a book."

Dream job upon graduation: "I want to work in sports. That's my overall goal. Maybe not professional, but I want to bring chiropractic to schools --high school students and undergrads in sports programs." Ideally, she'd like to work in her hometown, Oswego, NY.

Frankie Donovan (D.C. '22) standing next to an American flag


One of six children, Frankie will be the first doctor in her family (pending graduation) and said it wouldn't be possible without her family's strong support.

Dream job upon graduation: "I want to work with the U.S. Department of Defense and active duty military," Frankie said. Dream location: South Carolina

How to find balance: "For me, having a routine and having something to look forward to is a great way to balance. Also, maintaining a positive mindset. We all signed up for this and the end goal will be worth it," Frankie said. She turns to running and lifting heavy weights to blow off steam and find the mind, body connection.

Advice for first tri students: "I struggled the most with too many opinions," Frankie said. "Go in and be confident with yourself. Make sure you are following your own goals and thoughts. What's hard for you may be easy to someone else. I was so scared of neurology because of what everyone said. But it was one of my best courses."

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