Healing from the Heart


Sydney Matsuda-Fong (’17)

When Sydney Matsuda-Fong (’17) first decided she wanted to be a nurse, there was a very specific need she wanted to fill.

“I wanted to work in a rehabilitative capacity with victims of human trafficking,” she explained. While still a passion she holds very closely to her heart, Matsuda-Fong’s experience in the nursing program at Gonzaga and her career intentions have blossomed. She loves the practice of empathy in giving care to patients, and the Jesuit tenet of cura personalis has become a driving force in all Matsuda-Fong’s pursuits.

“Coming alongside people in moments that can range from birth to death is an extraordinary experience,” she said. “Nursing inspires me to care for the whole person—going beyond ‘fixing people’ and accepting the opportunity God has given me to serve, care for and love others the best I can.”

In addition to the evolution of her goals, Matsuda-Fong has also seen a transformation in her ideas about mental health. Her psychiatric rotation at Eastern State Hospital was one of her favorite experiences as a Zag and provided her with an unexpected moment of appreciation.

“I saw great need for giving care to those who struggle with mental illness,” she said. “I worked with people who experienced a lot of suffering—so much of their lives was out of control—and yet, within the heaviness of their reality, there were times when I could see patients improving, moments when they were able to practice a healthy coping mechanism. These moments were really beautiful.”

“I’ve learned to be present, engaged and a part of change,” said Matsuda-Fong. “Of course, I’m still young and have much to learn, but I couldn’t imagine where I’d be without my time at GU.”

On top of her rigorous schedule as a nursing student, finding time to be so involved is something Matsuda-Fong wouldn’t be able to do without her scholarships. She is extremely grateful for your support and is very much looking forward to putting her education and the motivation she takes from her Gonzaga experience into the healthcare field and beyond.

“Thanks to my scholarships, I will be able to use my gifts to follow my dreams and serve others.”


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