Ranae Hedman '14: Student by Day, Substation Safety Manager by Night
It’s three a.m. In the Residential Safety Program (RSP) substation in Schomburg Apartments, junior Ranae Hedman is listening to Headquarters conduct a roll call over her walkie talkie. One by one the field units and residence hall desk monitors respond: all is well. Another squawk issues from her device.
“M-6.” That’s Ranae’s unit number.
“Go,” she says.
“What’s your 10-18?”
“Please be advised you’re coming in five by five,” she says, the code for telling Headquarters that they’re coming in loud and clear.
It’s all in a night’s work for Ranae, who works as a substation manager at least six overnights a month, while most of the campus is asleep. She is doing her part to ensure the safety and security of the campus community. And she loves it.
“I’ve been involved with the RSP since my freshman year,” says Ranae, a Spanish major with her sights on medical school. “I used to be a desk monitor. I’d go to Headquarters in Mendelsohn Quad, get the sign-in book and sit at the desk in a dorm. After 11:00 p.m., when residents came into the building, I’d check their IDs, make sure they lived there and sign them in. Then I got promoted.”
As one of seven substation managers, Ranae distributes equipment, manages the books for the South Campus desk monitors, answers the phone and dispatches field units. The student workers in the RSP also include 90 desk monitors and 60 field units. There are 20 shift supervisors and five assistant coordinators who are staff. Together, they serve as the eyes and ears of the University Police Department and frequently join the police in patrolling the residence halls. The RSP also offers a Walk Service to escort students safely around campus at night.
Ranae, who is originally from Jamaica in the Caribbean, plans to combine her love of the Spanish language and culture with a medical career.
“I’ve been studying Spanish since fourth grade,” she says. “After I went to Barcelona in high school, I promised myself I’d go back. My goal was always to become a doctor, but majoring in Spanish really helps me engage in something fun.” This summer Ranae plans to study abroad at Alcalá University in Spain. “One of my RAs went there and was able to shadow a doctor. I said, that’s what I want to do! That just seals the deal right there. I’ll get a host family, be able to immerse myself in the language and become fluent.”
An RA (Resident Assistant) herself, Ranae says that her favorite part of that role is opening weekend, when the new students move in. “They’re nervous and anxious and you’re able to tell them everything that they need to know. The whole event is structured and enriching and helpful, and that’s what I like to be. So even though medicine is my ultimate goal, I still want to be out there actively helping people and going into communities where people don’t necessarily have a voice.”
Ranae (in pink sweater) performs with the Stony Brook Gospel Choir
Ranae is also president of the Gospel Choir, which has been her favorite activity since her freshman year. “I love the Gospel Choir, it’s my heart. All my close friends are there. We’re a very close-knit group. We have concerts and sing at campus events all year.”
“I’m very much of a go-getter,” she finishes. “I love the camaraderie here.”
By Toby Speed; photo by John Griffin