To Geneva and Back in Three Days

By: Ankita Mishra, Honors College Junior

The AAnkita - Genevamerican Mock World Health Organization (AMWHO) Regional Conference was a three-day long immersive experience hosted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The opportunity to take part in this realistic simulation was truly like no other as it mirrored the experiences of a real ambassador at the World Health Organization. The focus of this conference was reproductive health equity on a global scale and I had the distinct pleasure of representing Refugees International- an integral organization in ensuring this equity worldwide. This NGO advocates for the lifesaving assistance and protection of displaced individuals around the world while promoting feasible solutions for the crises that have caused their displacement. As an NGO representative, my job was to ensure that the world regions taking part in the assembly were incorporating the ideals of Refugees International in their resolutions to work towards reproductive health equity.

While working with a total of five world regions, I learned the skills needed to develop important stances into workable and sustainable resolutions through methodology practiced by the WHO. In the EMRO Region, which included the Eastern Mediterranean area, I worked with Syria, Egypt, and other countries to utilize RI’s funding for the development of mobile clinics to reduce the prevalence of maternal morbidity in the region. In the EURO region, I worked with representatives from Germany, Switzerland, UK, and other countries to develop sexual education programs for both native and migrant populations in the region. In the SEARO/WIPRO region, which included Southeast Asia, Australia, and neighboring countries, I worked with representatives from Singapore, China, Australia, and other regions to integrate university level students into worldwide sexual education community programs.

These were some of the many irreplaceable experiences that I made through the three daysAnkita - Refugees International of the event. I met with students from all across North Carolina who shared my vision for a stronger, healthier, and more equal world. I had the opportunity to network and hear the stories of prominent health professionals from the region who had traveled the world working in health equity and reproductive health, many of which had worked at the WHO at some point in their lives. By the end of the weekend, I truly felt like I had made a trip to Geneva.

More than anything, however, I was excited to have made these experiences while representing Refugees International. RI holds a special place in my heart after volunteering at a refugee camp while abroad during the past semester abroad, and working with refugees in the Carrboro area after returning the USA. With my knowledge from my continuing research in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Brody School of Medicine, this past weekend was the perfect combination of my passions in women’s health and refugee advocacy in the scope of global health. This opportunity not only took me out of my comfort zone, but also gave me the opportunity to network and learn more about my role in the future of Global Health at an institution that is a trailblazer in the field.

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Honors College Convocation Poem

Kristalyn ConvocationBy Kristalyn Gill, senior EC Scholar

Where the roots reach, branches climb.

 

Arriving at the land of purple and gold,

I found a school with an old soul and a young heart

Where dreams dare to expand and a thriving community of art

A hospital with researchers by the dozen

And a business school with students fully driven

A college of engineers just waiting to build into the skies

A land of historians, entrepreneurs, teachers, and writers.

Writers.

Right.

Right turns.

They said it was my turn to make the right choices. Choices,

they are indeed a tricky thing.

Flinging yourself into the next four years of your life is no easy feat.

But you’ve done it.

You’re here.

Your feet brought you to this auditorium, and so have mine.

Despite our paths, we have arrived at our home, our haven.

As a dancer, I communicate through movement.

The moment I decided to pursue this career, I knew that it would be no easy game of tic-tac-toe

but more like finding a grain of wheat in the Sahara…

while blindfolded…

at night.

 

Nothing about this choice was logical to outsiders

But everything about this choice was right.

 

With a family of scholars and peers in this Honors College

I walked into this new chapter of my story with relationships to keep me grounded,

to keep me focused,

and to keep me determined.

 

This College is rooted deeply,

with branches reaching to do more,

to see more,

to know more,

and to be more.

More than you can imagine will happen to you while you grow into this community.

 

I have been tumultuously thrust into opportunities I never bought into the reality of:

Like having my poems published and received with love,

Getting the chance to dance in New York City

on one of the most well known stages in dance history.

Hearing how Dr. Walker, Dr. Fraley, and Dr. Fogarty all deeply believe in my passions,

stopping at nothing to help me conquer challenges and limitations.

Being financially supported to combine the arts and research,

Exploring Washington D.C. alongside my inspirational cohorts.

Challenging women in domestic violence shelters to let their creative juices flow,

Teaching children in Sunday school how to write the word “Go,”

Leading Bible Study with best friends and sharing my faith in Christ,

Dancing in Messick, McGinnis, in Hendrix, and here at Wright.

Having donors trust in this great school, financially supporting my dreams,

Performing at Bowery Poetry Club in New York City’s Lower Eastside scene.

Studying foreign cultures and earthquakes in the Peruvian mountainside.

Writing my own booklet about defeating anxiety during Me-Time.

Working in the Big Apple as a professional dancer,

Speaking at convocation knowing I don’t have all the right answers.

 

And despite this facility and these four years being all about knowing,

All this time will teach you is how to survive the ebb and the flowing.

 

It’s not about being right, but how a right is made by three lefts, three things to leave.

 

Leave your fears behind.

Leave yourself to grow.

Leave your passions to flourish.

Nourishment.

These people will enrich your life, as they have mine.

They taught me that my words matter,

Despite my battering self-doubt, their encouragement left me standing tall

I have found a home in these hearts and a community in these companions.

More than just a degree, you will leave after four years here with joy, utter joy

 

From realizing that yes, grades matter, but those moments spent investing into one another like a metered parking spot left you feeling more whole than an A you might’ve got.

 

From coming to the conclusion that teachers are wise, if you listen you can learn so much between the lines. By making genuine relationships, these masters of knowledge can teach you to sail your own pirate ship.

 

From accepting that challenges will come and did come by the dozen, but they only serve to shape you. Amidst tragedy and heartbreak these losses still do not define you.

 

Define you.

Find you.

 

They say that during college you will find yourself.

I will counter this statement and say no, you will never find yourself.

You will release yourself.

 

After three years, I can say that my joy is found in the PEOPLE.

It all comes back to the people.

It is why I chose my blood to run purple and gold,

and I believe the people are what inspired you.

 

These people are the ones who pushed my artistry to become greater,

my passion to grow deeper,

my love to reach farther,

my determination to be stronger,

and my stamina to go longer.

This school introduced me to such inspirational movers and shakers, to the doers and creators of change and beauty, art and industry, research and ingenuity.

 

I inhale joy during each breath I take while on the dance floor as a new exciting space to explore.

These human stars in my night sky taught me to push myself to finally break up with who I was three years ago.

 

To break down the boundaries, limits, judgments, and hindrances I placed on my own path.

I will leave this May with confidence in my back pocket not because of my abilities,

but because I have finally begun the process of enjoying my own artistry.

 

Artistry.

A composition of moments and memories.

 

the words written for others and those I kept for myself

the pain of injury, of heartbreak, of loss

the storms caused by the weather and those initiated by circumstance

the questions of the future and the exclamations of joy

the moments dancing in front of thousands and those spent dancing alone

the laying on of hands and the laying down of hearts

the wet football games and the dry lectures

the hard conversations and the soft sunrises

the telling of stories and the act of making mine thicker.

 

So welcome freshmen,

welcome my new family,

welcome to our community.

 

Welcome to the act of making YOUR story thicker.

We cannot wait to walk beside you as your three lefts make a right.

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Learning medicine in Nicaragua

By Conor Pumphrey, sophomore EC Scholar and Early Assurance in Medicine

Conor - NicaraguaThe summer following my junior year of high school, I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Nicaragua with St. James United Methodist Church. Though the team members vary each year, the group has been going to Nicaragua on this trip for over 12 years now. What intrigued me the most about this opportunity was that the trip was focused on providing medical care to the people of remote villages in the mountains. I was already interested in the medical field at this point and after the trip, my idea about wanting to become a physician was completely confirmed. I enjoyed this mission trip because I had the opportunity to do procedures that I would not have been able to do in the states such as testing for hemoglobin levels, glucose levels, taking blood pressure manually and with a machine, and testing for oxygen saturation levels. In addition, I was able to shadow the physicians that lead the trip. I decided to go again this summer because it was such an amazing experience for me.

The mission of the group is to provide basic health care to an impoverished country, especially the communities surrounding the city of Jinotega. The mission trip is one week long and the group has been lodged in the same orphanage every year since the first trip. The first day of this year’s trip was spent preparing for the first clinic that we held at the orphanage. This clinic served the kids at the orphanage, the staff and the surrounding community. Over the next two days, we had a clinic in the mountain villages and this is where I experienced some of the most memorable moments of my trip. One impactful moment was when we saw a man that was in his 80’s come into thNicaragua - Conore clinic wearing extremely dirty clothes with holes all over them. It looked like they had not been changed in weeks and he was wearing a plastic bag to stay dry during the rainy season. The interpreters said that he had walked 2 hours just to come get medical attention. It was amazing to see multiple members of the team give him personal items that they were wearing such as a hat, a raincoat, and clothes that we had at the clinic. Another patient came in with extreme pain in her arm. When we inquired more she said it only hurt when she was carrying buckets of water. The shocking part of the story was that she walks about 6 hours round trip a day to gather water from a stream, carrying several liters of water just to provide for her family.

Nicaragua Group - ConorThis trip not only provided me with great hands-on medical experience, but it was an eye-opening experience to see how the people of Nicaragua live. The people of this country would be blessed to live like the poorest of the people in America, and I think this is something many people would be shocked to witness. All of these reasons are why I love visiting this country and plan on continuing to go for many years to come.

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ECU She’s the First Chapter represents at national summit

STFECUgroup“To become powerful, I only need one thing: an education.” One of the visiting She’s the First (STF) Scholars, Carlota from Peru, started her STF Summit presentation with this quote from Malala. What better way to affirm why 200+ high school and college students from around the world came to spend a weekend in the Big Apple? Social media played an integral part in She’s the First’s fifth Annual Campus Leadership Summit.

For the first time, the main stage sessions were livestreamed, and highlight speakers included Devonte Rosero (Magicians Without Borders), Callie Schweitzer (Editor-in-Chief of Motto by Time), and Erin Schrode (youngest person ever to run for Congress). You can watch them (and many more!) here: https://www.facebook.com/shesthefirst/videos

NametagThe ECU chapter of She’s the First was well-represented at the Summit this year, with six Executive Board members in attendance, including Co-Presidents (and Honors College seniors) Samantha Gonzalez and Keerthana Velappan. Another first for this year was breakout session tracks: Community Engagement, Global Citizenship, and Leadership Development. From building leadership tool kits to raising awareness about girls’ education on campus to creating videos for social change, all of the sessions proved to be useful in different capacities. And of course, it wouldn’t be She’s the First without a tie-dye cupcake bar! 

The ECU chapter members had a successful year with regards to fundraising, but the highlight of this year’s Summit was something that even they were not expecting. During the Campus Awards Ceremony, STF ECU was presented with the award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Citizenship, one of five awards given that night. They had prioritized global awareness speakers and activities this past year, but as a relatively new chapter, they felt fortunate to have even been nominated. 

STF AwardWrapping up yet another STF Summit, they left with the wise words of another visiting STF Scholar, Angelica from Guatemala, who said, “Be yourself wherever and whenever because you are a rock star; do your best every day, and never give up.”

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Japan: An ‘inexhaustible variety of life’

By Josh Butler, a junior EC Scholar

Butler JapanStudying abroad in Tokyo, Japan, and the surrounding areas was an experience second to none that involved cultural immersion coupled with intellectual stimulation. Few places demonstrate values directly opposite to that of the United States like Japan, and experiencing these differences allows one to better understand the society he/she originates from and to view the United States from a foreigner’s perspective. Individualism versus collectivism; human rights versus rights of the collective whole; the person’s demand for respect versus a self-effacing respect for the other person; confrontation versus meekness; admittance versus ostracism. Juxtaposed standards such as these portray the differences between the United States and Japan respectively. Saying that experiencing these things profoundly increased my understanding of cross-cultural human nature would be a gross understatement.

Japanese foodI went to Japan entirely open-minded; however, I continuously found myself surprised at each restaurant, turn of the block, or bend in the path. Describing each surprise would take far too long for the purpose of a blog and simply not do the experience justice, so I will attempt a few. To begin with, convenience stores brought a whole new meaning to the word convenience. Instead of merely carrying an assortment of snacks, drinks, and simple essentials for the road, the common 711 or Family Mart convenience store in Japan was also full to the brim with fresh meals ranging from sandwiches to meats and bread. I often found myself in one of these stores to stock up on food for the guest house, grabbing a quick meal before our next excursion, or withdrawing cash from its ATM.

Tokyo cityMany people tend to look at a picture of Tokyo and liken it to New York City. Even though the skyscrapers are similar, the size of Tokyo, the biggest city in population density in the world that sports more places to eat than any other city, is simply too large to compare to its New York counterpart. Tokyo is also much cleaner, partly due to the lack of trash cans, subsequent reduction of trash quantity, and the taboo of eating while walking throughout the city. Trash is also separated between burnable items and plastics, reducing the necessity of landfills, unlike US practices.

Some restaurants feature a vending machine-like way of ordering. On the machine are pictures of meals (which are not photo shopped, like almost every menu in the US) and prices. After inserting some coins or a paper bill and choosing a meal, a ticket spiJapan- hikingts out, and the customer then passes it on to the cook. Pitchers of water are typically left on the table so you can refill the small glass as needed. Also, a waiter or waitress will only stop by your table if and when you call for their attention. From what I could discern, this is because meals are considered a private affair that are not to be interrupted unless the waiter/waitress is needed by the customer. I often forgot about this and waited at the table with friends, waiting for the waiter, when in fact the waiter was waiting for us.

Food portions are generally much smaller than in the US, and a typical meal consists mostly of noodles or rice, vegetables, and a small portion of meat (usually fish or pork). In addition, there are numerous American fast food restaurants, such as Carl Jr.’s, McDonalds, and KFC, in Japan. These restaurants demonstrate how Japan has been gradually westernized, influencing not only eating habits but choice of clothing and music as well.

Japan is a mesmerizing conjunction of the traditional and contemporary, the old and the new, the natural beauty of mountains and its wild monkeys and the adjacent concrete jungle of skyscrapers and modern wonders. These first-hand experiences have allowed me to see the United States from a fresh perspective and better comprehend what F. Scott Fitzgerald described as the “inexhaustible variety of life.”

monkeykevin-tokyoocrean-Japan

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