R. Shelly Lancaster
By Morgan Counts
Student Multimedia Reporter
being an inspiration
In a pit class full of sleepy college students,
R. Shelly Lancaster commands the room. Her voice loud and fearless, she asks
the students, “Do you know how you are supposed to sing “The Star-Spangled
Banner”? Are you supposed to be quiet or sing along?” A simple question, but
every student seems to be sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for her
One student suggests a polite silence. Lancaster shakes her head. Not in her world. She answers her own question with as much force as a gospel pastor delivering a sermon, “No, you are supposed to sing it at the top of your lungs. You have to sing it like you mean it!”
Dr. R. Shelly Lancaster at the Global Hospital and Health City in Chennai, India, holding the son of a local nurse with whom she has become friends.
Although she is not teaching this particular class, these students are learning, learning from someone who was once in their place, listening and looking for guidance and inspiration.
Every step in Lancaster’s life, from her decision to join the Air Force to going for her Ph.D. and becoming a nursing professor, is marked with a significant person, a person who inspired her to try something new, to take the next step. She says these people saw something in her that she never saw and inspired her to believe in herself, and it started from the day she was born.