When the war erupted in Ukraine last year, BYU nursing student Nadia T. DeVol (’25) felt helpless. “I was distraught because it was very directly affecting my family,” says DeVol, who is half Ukrainian and grew up speaking Russian. “But there was nothing I could do as a college student in the middle of her education.”
“Helpless” is a feeling DeVol hates. It’s partly why she became a nursing student. Growing up, two of DeVol’s siblings were diagnosed with cancer, and she often worried that no one would be there to help when they needed it. But at the hospital, “I knew there were qualified people around.”
In May DeVol had her chance to help—joining a BYU nursing global-health team providing health screenings and education at a clinic and several Ukrainian refugee camps in Poland. She worked as a translator alongside four other BYU students.
This tangible way to help was an answer to prayer for DeVol. “It was one of those [moments] where you’re thinking, “Oh, [God’s] really listening.”
DeVol says that meeting the people was emotional and eye-opening. “These are regular people, just like you and me. And now [due to the war] they have also these extra things they have to deal with.”
DeVol’s language abilities and developing nursing skills uniquely qualified her to help, says nursing professor Leslie Wilden Miles (BS ’99). But even more, DeVol “is a compassionate, true disciple of Jesus Christ—an ‘all-in’ person [who wants] to selflessly serve.”