Imani Bradford has a lot going on in her life, most of which is geared toward serving others.
A second-year nursing LPN major, Imani, 21, is the lead resident assistant at Northampton Community College’s Bethlehem Campus residence halls, a position she enjoys because it enables her to assist students who may be struggling. She was president of the Black Student Union during her first year at NCC and serves as one of four mentors in a recently established peer mentoring program. When students were sent home during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Imani stayed on campus and made phone calls, checking in with fellow students to see how they were feeling and coping.
“I just really like helping others,” she said during a recent interview. “I like connecting with other students and being able to help out. I was very hesitant as a student my first semester here, but I was able to get help and that made a huge difference for me. If someone else can learn from the mistakes I made, that’s a good thing.”
Imani enrolled at NCC after graduating from Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote, Montgomery County, in 2018. She found her classes to be more difficult than she anticipated and was concerned she would not be able to handle the workload.
“I reached out and was introduced to all the resources available to me,” she recalled. “Everyone was anxious for me to get the extra help I needed. They told me about the learning center and the science resource center and small classes that reviewed different subjects. All of that helped me get on track.”
Imani experienced further kindness and concern from staff and faculty members after she was injured in a car accident late last fall.
“I had a concussion and a knee and back injury,” she said. “It was hard for me to remember anything, which caused my grades to drop and I failed a class. When I retook the class the next semester, I told Professor (Nagla) Youssef about the accident. She was caring and explained she was available for any assistance I needed. The second time, I passed that class with an A.”
Staying on track academically is especially important to Imani, a scholarship student who depends on the money to buy her books.
“Nursing textbooks are really expensive,” she said. “It would be hard for me to pay for them without the scholarship money.”
Imani’s busy life is not confined to NCC. Until the pandemic began, she worked at an area Whole Foods, and she operates an online clothing and beauty business with her mother and younger sister. She mentors girls, using poetry to encourage reading, and works to educate others about serious topics like poverty and human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is a particular interest of mine because it can happen right next door and you may not realize it,” Imani said. “The church I used to belong to worked to combat human trafficking by checking in with young women who were on their own at the mall and making sure they were okay. I just want to make people aware of how serious and scary the situation is.”
Music and poetry have been part of Imani’s life since she was a small child. At age four she wrote a book of religious poetry. When she was five, she auditioned and was accepted as part of the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, even though the minimum age to join was eight. She remained in the choir for eight years.
“That was a wonderful part of my life,” Imani said. “It’s where I learned to read music and play the piano.”
A songwriter, Imani puts her musical talents to work in a variety of ways. Until the pandemic she sang in her church choir and she recently composed an original piece of music for the church. She also applies her song writing talent to her academic life.
“I write songs to help me when I study because it helps keep information in my head,” she said. “That was especially useful for my anatomy class.”
Imani credits her mother, Kimberly, a seminary student in Blue Bell, Montgomery County, for encouraging her to do her best and care for others.
“My mother has always reinforced the importance of helping others, Imani explained. “I always knew that was important. And she and my grandmother made sure my life included prayer and my faith was strong.”
Imani attributes her faith as a factor in her career goal of earning a master’s degree in nursing and working in a clinical setting. She also would like to teach allied health at the high school level and has added education classes to her course load to advance that goal. She has not yet decided where she will continue her education after graduating from NCC.
“I’m really looking forward to the next five years,” Imani said. “I’m not sure what that time will bring, but I have faith it will be good.”