Hometown: Murfreesboro, TN
Major: Urban Studies with a concentration in Urban and Community Health
Minor: Africana Studies
Academic interests: Community health, social justice, sociology of power and privilege
Extracurricular activities: Co-Director of Kinney Community Service Program, GlobeMed Executive Board, Peer Assistant (PA) Leader, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa, Gamma Sigma Epsilon Chemistry Honors Society
Tell the story of how you got to Rhodes College.
My father (’80) and brother (’10) both graduated from Rhodes, so I was familiar with the school. After I visited as a prospective student, I realized that Rhodes would provide me unique opportunities to pave my own path. Rhodes combined my desire to be at a smaller liberal arts college with my interest in living in a vibrant city.
How have you changed since beginning your studies at Rhodes?
I came to Rhodes with a passion to help others and thoughts of medical school. Although these have strengthened, they have developed in unexpected ways. My involvement in GlobeMed and courses in sociology and urban studies introduced me to social inequities and challenged me to evaluate my future goals. This reflection strengthened my interest in medicine, fostered my passion for social justice, and led me to major in urban studies with a concentration in urban and community health. As I look to the future, I recognize that my classes and experiences, such as an internship at the Church Health Center, have given me the tools to integrate my interest in health with social justice and community engagement.
As a co-director of the Kinney Community Service Program, you’ve spent the last four years immersing yourself in the Memphis community. Can you talk a little about that?
Rhodes and the Kinney Program have provided numerous opportunities for me to volunteer at places like Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, St. John’s Soup Kitchen, Great Outdoors University (a nature exploration and education program for Memphis youth), and the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA). These experiences and organizations have shaped and inspired me.
Thankfully, my community service at Rhodes has been complemented by my classes and with Kinney issue-based area meetings. This reflection has emphasized the importance of partnerships and sustainability with the community. I have learned that we must seek to engage in service that listens to the community and contributes to the long-term good.
With the Kinney Program I work with the other co-directors, Taylor Sieben ’15 and Aubrey Kearney ’15, to continue a long-standing student-run program in service to Rhodes students and community partners. The Kinney Program provides these opportunities through the commitment of student coordinators who help connect students to service, communicate with partner sites, and help develop student engagement through issue-based meetings.
Why do you think it’s important for Rhodes students to get out in the Memphis community?
Community engagement is an opportunity to learn, experience, and give back. As Rhodes students, we have the unique privilege to work with community partners and enrich what we’ve learned in the classroom. Memphis is a dynamic city with a rich history and a wealth of opportunities to make a difference. We as students should invest our skills, passion, and resources to grow as individuals and to give back to our community.
You’re on the executive board of GlobeMed. How did you first get involved, and how has this impacted your time at Rhodes?
GlobeMed is at the nexus of my passion for social justice, academic interests, and future aspirations. I was drawn into GlobeMed my freshmen year when I learned of the mission “to strengthen the movement for global health equity by empowering students and communities to work together to improve the health of people living in poverty around the world.” I am continually inspired by my GlobeMed peers and AMOS, our partner organization in Nicaragua. GlobeMed has provided me an opportunity to develop invaluable skills in leadership, communication, and professionalism. I have found purpose in my work with GlobeMed and have hope in the future because of the group of students who have encouraged me to follow my dreams.
What are your plans for next year? Has your experience in GlobeMed or the Kinney Community Service Program influenced these choices in any way?
I am currently in the application process for medical school, so the prospects for next year are exciting but undetermined. My extracurricular involvements in GlobeMed and the Kinney Program have fundamentally shaped my vision for a future as a physician. I hope to incorporate the lessons on social determinants of health with a developing reflexive disposition to guide my future practice. My experiences have demonstrated the value of partnership, and have inspired me to believe that together we can truly make a difference.
Compiled by Emily Clark ‘15