Student logs more than 500 volunteer hours


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Zoha Irfan will pursue a career in medicine.

photo by Carl Kotala

Zoha Irfan grew up watching her parents donate their time to help others. So when it came to putting in community service time at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, she dived right in.

“I’ve loved it so much,” said Irfan, who recently graduated. “My family’s always been super involved with service work.”

After forming the Interact Club — an offshoot of the Rotary Club — as a senior, Irfan was involved with projects that helped Humanity for Habitat, Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. Those weren’t even part of the 500 volunteer hours she logged with the school this past year.

The 17-year-old Viera resident has volunteered in the emergency room at the Viera Hospital every Sunday since she was a sophomore.

One of her primary jobs was to help get patients settled in their rooms. Then last summer, with the help of the School Counseling Department, she got an internship.

“I was working up in the administration part of Viera Hospital, and then Sunday, I would go volunteer,” Irfan said. “It was really cool. Through administration, I was dealing with patient satisfaction and how patients were reacting to different things. Then, I would go and actually implement those policies and what I’d picked up at meetings.

“I feel like I understood the system of the hospital more, and I came to like it more because it started to make sense. I mean, it was a little baffling to see that it was so chaotic at first. I felt so inconsequential.”

Feeling reinvigorated by her internship experience, Irfan now trains others and shares her new perspective.

“It’s an emergency department room. These patients are freaking out,” she said. “The first person to take them back to the room, if that person’s not smiling, they’re going to continue to freak out.

“I realized, every person matters. We all have a voice, no matter how small you are, how small your job is, that first face is a big deal in an emergency situation. You can’t downplay something like that.”

Irfan will next attend the University of Florida to pursue a career in medicine. Her father is a cardiologist.

“I spent a lot of my life thinking, ‘I’m going to be a cardiologist, too, just like my daddy,’” she said. “But we’ll see where the future takes us at this point. Right now, I’m on the path for Biomedical Engineering at UF.”