I believe I have done a fair amount of work to increase my global awareness, however I do not believe I am nearly at a high point of knowledge. Thus far, the majority of my real exposure has been trips to both China and India. There, I saw the living conditions of poverty that make poverty in the United States seem like fancy living. In China, I was exposed to a culture that is much different than that of the United States. The stark difference was the general attitude there. It was somewhat dystopian, and sort of sad. This is likely reflective of the unspoken difference in amount of freedom that exists between a country like China and one like the United States. In India, the difference was more the less advanced/progressed nature of the culture. Women were highly disrespected, corruption was running rampant, and industry was horrible. The air quality was also poor in both countries, and overpopulation along with being either an industrial or post industrial revolution society contribute to that. I traveled to India, specifically, for a global health initiative trip, and the goal was to explore the impact of current methods to alleviate water availability issues in the area while working with a local all girl’s school to improve health awareness. However, what I ended up considering is the impact that the social structure of India has on its current public health dynamic. Yes, assistance like ours is beneficial, but a reform to the entire structure of their society to prioritize cooperation rather than the perpetuation of the immense socioeconomic divide can help advance their society, public health being an aspect of that.
Experiences so far that I’ve had to understand both the research and creative processes have to be my research in biosciences, particularly virology, and my time in Men’s Glee Club. In my research, I’ve investigated the effect of DNA point mutations in a viral genome on its virulence, or its effectiveness at being a virus. I’ve also examined the role of an mRNA modification in vivo, which has shown favorable results in lessening the viral effects of certain viruses. During this time, I’ve learned that the research process is really repetitive and monotonous, but when you start piecing the parts of the puzzle together, and the final product is in sight, it all becomes worth it in the end. I feel a similar feeling in Men’s Glee Club. Rehearsals are oftentimes mechanical, but once we hit the concert, and everything is so harmonious and rich together, it’s indicative of the work we put in, and therefore presents a case for a solid product requiring nitty gritty work.
My academic plan demonstrates commitment to the goal of Academic Enrichment because it is focused on my admiration and love for science. I chose a variety of classes to explore particular facets of biology, but all can be used to better understand how to better humanity. Because of this, they align with my goal of someday becoming a physician who not is knowledgeable in both aspects of biology and sociology, but also analytical and can reason through issues, rather than simply applying knowledge blindly. For example, my GEs will be helpful in driving me to consider the implications surrounding the field of health while my biology courses will help me understand the intricacies of science that lead to the biological problems that plague humans and the earth.
My current leadership positions are held in Men’s Glee Club, Recipe4Good, Hall Council, Global Health Initiative, and soon Local Matters in a student position. All of these positions help me not only in the fact that they might be relevant to my future pursuits by themselves, but also to see the nature of human interaction, and how people may act on a day to day basis, especially those who are more “accomplished” than others. Through this, I can apply this to future teamwork based environments and hopefully increase efficiency of those teams I work in.
My current service consists mostly of Men’s Glee Club, GHI, and Recipe4Good. Men’s Glee Club has donation focused gigs, in which we go out to the community, sing, and then donate the funds to support the organizations that brought us out to that area. My international trip(s) to India as a part of GHI are focused on the betterment and upbringing of women and alleviation of human trafficking in the area of Piyali and Kolkata, as well as the examination of the social and public health dynamic in the area. Recipe4Good involves hunger based assistance, which could be helping local organizations to cook food for the hungry, donations of food, or instructional workshops. I plan on working again with GHI and Peacework to travel to India and further my work there, and hopefully will be able to provide the insight I gathered from my previous trip to make a change for the better in the area that will last longer than a few wells will for the public health crises there. I also plan on working with the aforementioned nonprofit “Local Matters” as an intern to examine and streamline the food centered healthcare curriculum, and explore the importance of access to good food and general health of the population, especially the underserved.