James Madison University

Nursing Student Named 2015 Woman of Distinction

By: Dina Manco
Posted: April 20, 2015

By inspiring others and making a difference on the JMU campus, Kendall Barger (’15) was named a 2015 Woman of Distinction (WOD). She received the award at the 9th Annual Diversity Conference held on March 16. While there were three faculty recipients, Barger received the sole student award. She is the president of Friends of Rachel (F.O.R.) JMU, a community service organization. As F.O.R.’s BeInvolved page states, “From positive-post-it-notes, making cards for JMU faculty, or making dog bones for the local animal shelter, we are dedicated to making a difference.”

PHOTO:Kendall Barger  & President Alger

Sandone comments, “We do daily things that can have an impact. The focus is really on…helping the people around you understand they are important through your lifestyle.” Barger is also a member of the Christian organization InterVarsity and the nursing honors society, Sigma Theta Tau.

Barger was nominated by F.O.R. Secretary and personal friend Amanda Fassbender (’15). When Fassbender learned of the award she saw an opportunity to celebrate her friend’s impact on others. She filled out a nomination form and told other members of F.O.R. about her decision. Even though it was not a requirement for WOD, the club advisor Dr. David Herr and other members of the executive board voluntarily wrote letters of recommendation for Barger.

Barger remained unaware of her friend’s nomination and award efforts until two weeks prior to the Diversity Conference. “She called me two weeks before when I was sitting on my couch and was like ‘You won this award.’ I didn’t know about it at all,” Barger says.

Barger was in attendance at the conference with her parents, some of her professors, and of course, Fassbender. “I don’t think anyone thinks they have that kind of impact on people, and I don’t think that is why you necessarily do it.” Barger adds, “Helping other people be the best they can be…I think you do because you love people, not because you’re interested in awards.” Nonetheless, she is extremely honored by the knowledge she is the student 2015 Woman of Distinction.

PHOTO:Kendall Barger & Amanda Fassbender

Over the years she has known Barger, Fassbender has seen her greatly change the lives of others. “She also continually strives to be a better leader by educating herself through reading leadership books and talking to [leaders from] other organizations,” Fassbender comments. “As a leader in F.O.R. JMU, [Barger] has allowed other exec members to grow into their roles and truly grow to be leaders of their own. She is …a role model to others by the way she takes responsibility of situations and is always striving to create a closer community within F.O.R. JMU.”

In the fall of 2015, Barger will begin working in the University of Virginia’s Medical ICU as a nurse. Her dream is to continue her education to become a Nurse Practitioner and hopefully work with healthcare in a third-world country.