Ivana Cherry, of Memphis, is a junior at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Cherry finds inspiration at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital

Ivana Cherry, of Memphis, put her management courses to work during a job-shadow experience at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis during summer 2018. Since then, she’s been on a course to become a hospital administrator.

Cherry, a senior at the University of Tennessee at Martin, chose to study management after watching her father manage his small business. After discovering a love for children’s medicine, she combined the two dreams and found the field of health-care administration.

“When I was younger, I always wanted to be a doctor, but I can’t stand the sight of blood. Health-care administration … lets me be with kids and do the health care part without seeing the blood,” she said, laughing. After a family friend connected her with administrators at Le Bonheur, Cherry decided to spend her summer finding out exactly what someone in her dream job does each day.

“I got to work with a clinical department, a non-clinical department and a marketing department,” she said. “I think I enjoyed the marketing department more because in that area I was able to sit in on formal seminars with sponsors … who give money to Le Bonheur. (They) talked about the different programs they wanted to bring in, not only for kids, but dealing with AIDS and young mothers.”

She was also able to ask administrators from various areas their advice on how to enter the career field and found their answers encouraging.

“A lot of people in the marketing department weren’t even marketing majors. One lady there was actually a teacher before she came into the marketing department,” she said. The realization that there is more than one path to reach her career goals has helped set Cherry at ease with her coursework and reaffirmed that she is headed in the right direction. “I feel like a lot of students go in to look for internships saying they want to get paid. … I feel like this (opportunity) gave me the experience to say that money doesn’t have to be everything about where I want to go and what field I want to be in.”

As far as passing advice along to underclassmen, she says giving yourself room to grow – rather than tying yourself down to one ambition over time – is essential to becoming a well-rounded individual and enjoying the collegiate experience. She also encourages students coming after her to take advantage of the close student-professor relationships available at UT Martin and get outside their comfort zones to try new things.

“I feel like being here in the small environment and having teachers who can just talk to you, and it not being in a big setting, is really helpful,” she said. “Having some of everything that everyone can do is nice. It’s a diverse school, too. It’s not uncomfortable for me to be here; that’s what I like most. I feel like it’s helped me grow so much as a person.”


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