Daring to Dream

Hannah Pavlisin ’18 arranged for three former Olympians to attend her “Dare to Dream” event at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, including (from left) 1964 diver Lou Vitucci, 1976 and 1980 speed skater Jim Chapin and 1972 soccer player John Carenza.

By Clara Miles, MA '05
October 14, 2014

Although she calls herself a “military brat,” Hannah Pavlisin ’18 is anything but that. The nursing major from Lebanon, Illinois, already has demonstrated a commitment to enhancing hospital patients’ lives through her “Take Action” project for the Girl Scouts.

“I hosted an event for the St. Louis Children’s Hospital to take the patients’ minds off their treatments, surgeries and overall hospitalization,” Pavlisin explained about the project for her Girl Scout Gold Award, the Eagle Scout equivalent. “It was so fulfilling to watch the children walk into the room and light up when they saw everything. Even the kids who weren’t having a good day health-wise were smiling.”

Called “Dare to Dream,” the project — created and managed entirely by Pavlisin — featured brilliantly decorated play areas, craft stations, free teddy bears for all the children and special guests, including firefighters, police officers and several former Olympians. “It was the perfect last surprise. No one expected it because I couldn’t assure it until the very last couple of days to make sure they were able to come,” she remarked about the athletes’ involvement. “I was really glad they did, and the Olympians were happy to work with the kids, too.”

After 13 years as a Girl Scout, Pavlisin has developed several skills that will aid her on the Hilltop — leadership, compassion and character. “I’m going to Bradley with a clear head, ready to make the best of my years there with a different mindset than high school,” she noted. “I’m really excited for the diversity of college and meeting a whole different group of people.”

Read more student profiles from the Class of 2018 in the new issue of Bradley Hilltopics.

Ultimately wanting to be an Air Force nurse like her mother, she is considering specializing as an air-evacuation nurse thanks to the influence of her father, a retired Air Force pilot. While she admits she hated the hospital as a child, Pavlisin honed in on her career path after becoming interested in medical shows on TV. Then, after hearing some of her parents’ stories and working on her project at the Children’s Hospital, she realized, “That’s exactly what I want to do.”

Until she’s ready to officially enter the world of medicine, the black belt in taekwondo already has some plans for her years on campus. “I’m looking forward to taking biology this semester and soon after, anatomy, my favorite class in high school,” Pavlisin said of her studies, acknowledging there also is time for a little fun along the way: “I’m definitely interested in rushing and checking out all the sororities; hopefully, I’ll find one that’s a good fit for me.”