Rita Steadman, medical staff coordinator on the CompHealth locum tenens medical staff services team, is proud to be an American. After months of preparing and studying, she passed her citizenship test and interview June 6.
"It has always been my intention to eventually become a U.S. citizen, as I knew this would be my home for the rest of my life. However, my husband and I tend to make quite a few trips overseas," Rita shares. "When you apply for citizenship, you are not supposed to leave the country during the application process unless it's an emergency. So each year, I kept putting it off in favor of my vacations."
Rita and her husband moved from England to the United States 16 years ago. Her husband became a U.S. citizen in 2000, but their frequent travel and a three-year wait after his citizenship made her goal nearly impossible. That changed when she realized her permanent residency status would expire in October 2011.
"I decided that the time had come to put a hold on traveling and submit my paperwork for citizenship," Rita recalls. "I told my family members who live overseas to hold off on any serious illnesses, family dramas or deaths until I became a citizen!"
Rita subsequently submitted her application and documentation, passed a background check and began studying for her citizenship test and interview.
"In May, I printed off flash cards with the citizenship questions and answers on them and distributed these amongst all my colleagues with a request that they help me learn the answers. They each took three to four cards each and asked me questions every day for a month, swapping the questions around so they didn't get bored," Rita shares. "They were all very willing and excited to re-learn what they had forgotten or didn't know. I could not have felt confident about taking the required test without their help. They were fabulous."
Rita's team celebrated her citizenship by decorating their department with flags and Americana decorations. Many of them wore patriotic hats, and festive sugar cookies were served, too. For Rita, however, the celebration isn't quite over.
"Unless otherwise notified, I am scheduled to take the oath of citizenship on July 2 at the Stadium of Fire celebrations in Provo," Rita expresses. "How cool is that!