Denise Wall Parilo, RN, MSNFaculty Spotlight, June 2008
Assistant Professor Denise Wall Parilo, RN, MSN, has collaborated with Community Engagement Center four of the six years she has been teaching with the Sacramento State Nursing Department. Outside of teaching, Denise Wall Parilo volunteers as a nurse at children’s sports camps and is a Red Cross Nurse who has participated in disaster training and flu shot clinics for senior citizens.
Each spring, over one hundred of Denise Wall Parilo’s nursing students partner with community organizations such as Wellspring Women’s Center, Jesse Baker School, Strategies for Change, John H. Jones Center, St. John’s Shelter, WEAVE, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, and Folsom Cordova Community Partnership. Her students “deliver an important message to the community about how to stay healthy,” providing health education seminars, blood pressure and sugar screening tests, resource referrals, and both illegal and prescription drug education.
When asked to comment on their experiences with Denise Wall Parilo, community partners had nothing but great things to say.
Kelly Siefkin, the Volunteer Manager at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services said, “Professor Denise Wall Parilo has done an excellent job preparing these students for situations they may encounter at SFBFS such as nutrition-based inquiries, varying economic backgrounds, cultural differences, medical concerns and more. The clients who visit our facility are grateful for the kind and knowledgeable nursing students from Sac State.”
Betsy Michelotti, the South Site Programs Manager for Strategies for Change, said “Professor Wall Parilo’s nursing students have brought Strategies for Change and the clients in treatment a wealth of information about health, nutrition, and the human body. The women are always excited that the nursing students are going to be at the agency, bringing them information they may not have gotten elsewhere.”
Denise Wall Parilo uses service learning in her classes because it provides her students with the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge in real world situations, helping to increase their understanding of course material and reinforce their career goals, while getting them to “really embody their role as an advocate for the individual and the bigger community.” And “it makes [her] feel good that Sac State students are doing good things in the community.”
Based on the reflective journals Professor Wall Parilo receives from her service learning students, the students find the projects beneficial as well. One student wrote the work is “exhausting but extremely rewarding,” and Denise Wall Parilo often hears stories about students gaining confidence through their experiences – “I did what you told me and it worked!”
Professor Wall Parilo explained, “Students don’t always realize how much they know and how much they can offer. They are bright, hardworking, talented.” Service learning projects help them realize this potential.
Denise Wall Parilo continues to partner with Community Engagement Center and community based organizations in the greater Sacramento region, utilizing service learning in her courses to create an atmosphere of learning through engagement in order to enhance her students’ understanding of educational goals, sense of civic responsibility, and self awareness.
Each year, more than two thousand Sacramento State students, faculty, staff, and alumni participate in programs and projects sponsored by Community Engagement Center. Programs such as Alternative Break, AmeriCorps Students in Service, Sac State Serves, and Service Learning fulfill our mission to facilitate learning and engagement by linking campus and community for mutual benefit. Through Spotlight, Community Engagement Center will highlight outstanding individuals and programs advancing community engagement in the Sacramento region.