Advocacy Research alums and their work
Here is a sample of some of the work that IPSL Advocacy Research alums have conducted abroad. Check out the #realscoop on living, serving, and researching abroad!
Laura, a Susquehanna University alum, traveled to Guayaquil, Ecuador with IPSL on the Summer Medical Spanish Program. She first discovered the IPSL program after conducting undergraduate research in the U.S. at Susquehanna. Laura is preparing to go to medical school and felt that gaining some international research experience would make her stand out in the application process. While abroad with IPSL,Laura conducted sponsored research on Chikungunya disease, a mosquito borne illness, effecting a large portion of an impoverished community Guayaquil. Laura served at the Luchadores del Norte Clinic and worked alongside the clinic doctor to visit patients in their homes, conduct educational lectures on the prevention of Chikungunya and collect data on community disease. Laura’s research was sponsored because it was identified by the clinic as being needed in their community. Before Laura came on board, IPSL worked with the Luchadores del Norte Clinic to identify this research and create a proposal. When Laura arrived abroad she was ready to jump in on day one and start collecting data. Laura was able to gain valuable skills for her future medical career and the Luchadores del Norte Clinic was able to gain valuable data that they will use to receive government funding and grants for hospital services. Future IPSL students will have the opportunity to advocate for and serve the clinic by continuing the Chikungunya data collection and sponsored research project.
“This experience allowed me to serve in a medical setting in another country. I truly enjoyed learning from the clinic and community and helping in any way possible. I also was able to conduct research that truly benefited the community and clinic, while also gaining research skills for my future medical career. Since participating in this incredible experience, I have future plans to return to the clinic in a year or so to volunteer again.”
Check out Laura’s Blog about the Chikungunya in the Luchadores del Norte Community!
Todd, now a College of Mount St Vincent’s alum, traveled to Chiang Mai, Thailand with IPSL. Todd’s major is in community education and while living and studying in New York, he developed a passion for teaching underprivileged children. Though the requirements for an education degree are demanding and often require students to stay at their home instruction, Todd felt it was imperative for him to gain hands-on experience in an international setting while serving those in need. That’s why he choose IPSL. While in Mae Sot, Thailand (the permanent Burmese refugee camp), Todd discovered that the community viewed education (in particular, the English language) as a vital means of advancement. Todd’s original research project had him focusing on educational techniques, but he soon discovered the community story surrounding education was a much more important and compelling piece of the puzzle. Since conducting research with IPSL, Todd says his perspective on service has turned from domestic to global and as such has made plans to continue pursuing international service.
“We are very insulated in the U.S. and it becomes very easy to see things in one perspective through one lens and when you go abroad and you meet all these different people from all of these different backgrounds you begin to grasp new lenses, to see life in general and everything you do in a new way. I want to go back. For me, this program brought such immense joy. This experience changes your perspective for the rest of your life.”
Karen, now, a College of Mount St. Vincent’s alum, traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam with IPSL. While pursing an honors degree in nursing Karen decided that she needed to broaden her perspective on what medicine is and how to pursue a medical career. She only had a westernized version of medicine though her New York hospital experience, and wanted to gain hands-on experience while exploring a completely foreign type of medicine: eastern medicine. While in Hanoi, Karen pursued original research on the topic of pain management within an eastern perspective. Karen was able to connect with local traditional medicine practitioners and interview them on their techniques. She was also able to learn about the medicinal herb industry. When Karen came home, she decided to take her research to the next level and in her Honors thesis for the College of Mount St. Vincent, she compared western and eastern medical techniques and in the process gained a whole new insight into her future career as a nurse. Karen says she recognizes the value in the research experience and in the cultural experience abroad in Vietnam as having cemented in her, an environmental and global approach to medicine that will definitely inform her medical career. She is dedicated to a "patient-centered", rather than "disease-centered" approach to medicine and she recognizes that the global community has very different and valuable lessons to teach.
“IPSL really opened up my options and introduced me to new potential opportunities. I’ve made more goals for the future after this experience because I know it is now possible to create something and pursue it. You can make something out of nothing with help from IPSL.”