photo courtesy of brown.senate.gov
On October 14, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Propel Ohio, a leadership summit put on by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s office. The conference was attended by over 250 students from various colleges and universities across the state of Ohio.
Upon arriving, our group from OSU decided to sit in the front, and I sat three seats down from the first reserved seat. Well, to our surprise Sherrod Brown, himself, sat in the first reserved seat! So as he was walking to his seat he greeted us and asked where we were from; I told him I was from Pittsburgh, an out of state town. When he gave his speech addressing all the students, he mentioned that his goal is to keep people in the state of Ohio, and mentioned Pittsburgh as one of the places where people were from, and he looked at me. What a cool encounter with a United States Senator!
The rest of the conference focused on child poverty, and different ways to eradicate it. Among strategies, we talked about reducing food insecurity, ensuring quality housing, and providing education. We had two panels, one with representatives from organizations that work directly or indirectly to address child poverty, and an elected officials panel, who talked about how public policy can influence child poverty.
Through networking with peers and adults, and engaging in meaningful conversations about difficult topics, I gained not only more information about child poverty, but I also left with the necessary tools to make change in my community, which, for the next 4+ years, is right here in Columbus, Ohio.
[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.
Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc .
Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]
photo courtesy of Google Images
A two and a half hour presentation Male Circumcision and HIV just sounds like a hard homework assignment that you just want to get over with, right? Wrong. Surprisingly, this assignment was just the beginning of me gaining a deeper understanding of the many aspect of HIV. It all started in my Honors Case Studies in Public Health class when Dr. Abigail Norris Turner came in to talk about how HIV could be prevented in Sub-Saharan Africa by the implementation of widespread male circumcision. The following week, two of my classmates and I had to present a similar case about Male Circumcision and HIV. I not only learned more about HIV, but the culture and ethics surrounding circumcision. Just when I thought two and a half hours was enough about HIV, my weekend started.
The weekend after my presentation, I attended training to become an HIV/Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Test Counselor. There, a representative from Columbus Public Health came in to teach us about HIV, but in a different context than circumcision and Africa. Because we were about to be testers, we learned about how HIV is spread, how to prevent it, and how it is treated. We did activities to learn about safe sex and briefly touched on PrEP and PEP, medication intended to prevent HIV before and after possible exposure, respectively. At this point, I thought I knew it all — I had learned all these different facets of HIV through my presentation and my training, but my learning did not stop there.
After becoming trained in HIV/STI Test Counseling, I attended my first monthly meeting excited to meet the other test counselors. What I did not expect was to learn more about HIV…but I am sure glad I did. A representative from Equitas came to speak extensively about PrEP and PEP, as well as other factors that affect HIV. My big takeaway from his speech is that who you are and where you come from can influence your odds of contracting the infection. Black men who have sex with men account for more raw cases of HIV than white men who have sex with men, even though blacks make up a significantly less percent of the American population. Education level, class, and stigma also carry a huge burden on the disease.
I now think I have a pretty good understanding about HIV from multiple perspectives. What I have learned through all of this, as my picture suggests, is knowing your status can be the best way to stop the spread of HIV. Knowing your status can not only decrease your chances of spreading it to someone else, but also can help you get the resources and support you need to live a full and successful life. Get tested…what’s your status?
Welcome! My name is Madison Taylor and I am a first year Honors Public Health major from right outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Throughout my life, I have always had a passion to serve, lead, and empower. I am currently a member of Empowering Neighborhoods of Columbus (ENCompass), which focuses on the social determinants of health in Columbus communities, and Ohio State Undergraduate Recruitment Society (OURS), that encourages underrepresented populations to continue on to higher education. Additionally, I am an HIV/STI Test Counselor through the Office of Student Life. Being a Morrill Scholar and being in the Morrill Scholars Learning community has also given me a forum to talk about social justice and the intersectionality between race, class, socioeconomic status, and more. I plan to continue to stretch these values as I take advantage of the multitude of opportunities that THE Ohio State University has to offer.
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[ “Year in Review” is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student. You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year. For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]