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Andrea D. Parker

Executive director, Hult Center for Healthy Living

Andrea D. Parker

When Andrea D. Parker, MS ’96, finished her BSN at Bradley University, she swore she was done with school. But a month later, she enrolled in the master’s program at UIC. Parker is executive director of the Hult Center for Healthy Living in Peoria, a nonprofit provider of wellness and health education.

Q: Why did you decide to return for your master’s?

A: When I was completing my BSN, I was working a night shift as well as expecting my second child, so it was an exhausting time for me. However, after the birth of our daughter, and as I became more adjusted to a regular day shift schedule, I had the energy for learning. With the financial support of my employer hospital, it was a no-brainer to continue my nursing education. I had attended the University of Illinois in Urbana after high school, so I really wanted to be a University of Illinois graduate.

Q: What’s rewarding about your position as executive director of the Hult Center?

A: My role at the Hult Center is all that I have ever imagined. It’s a combination of health education—where I use my nursing knowledge—and community engagement. As the administrator, I am responsible for fundraising, donor development and ultimate program oversight. I also oversee the In School Health program, developing school-based healthcare access points for underserved children. I enjoy being part of a team that is passionate about its work.

Q: How did your UIC nursing degree prepare you for your current role?

A: By having my master’s in nursing from UIC, I am prepared for the healthcare world we are faced with today and I am recognized as a leader in the community.