What leadership roles or volunteer experiences have been important to you during your time at Maryland?
This semester, I have been working as a Research Assistant on the “‘Climbing Up and Reaching Back (CURB)’: Ladder of Support for Research Careers in Biomedical and Behavioral Research. The CURB project is part of a research study being done at the University of Maryland Prevention Research Center (UMD-PRC) in the School of Public Health (SPH). Not only is this a rewarding experience—I get to work with Prince George’s County high school students in a series of CURB activities and competitions—but I also get to help promote the exploration of college educations and careers in the health sciences, which I love. I am also working with two other organizations in the SPH: Public Health Interacting and Engaging (PHEAR), a graduate student run program that works with other schools on the campus to get SPH known and work with them to promote public health related programs, goals, etc., and Etta Sigma Gamma (ESG), a public health sorority full of Community Health majors who work with public health institutions on campus and in the community to help promote and volunteer at public health initiatives. Often times both PHER and ESG work together to achieve these goals. I am also a Central Board member in the University Student Judiciary (USJ). I, along with a few of my peers, hear and adjudicate non-academic violations of the University’s Code of Conduct committed by other students. This is not my favorite activity, because often times we determine the fate of a student here at the University, however, it does give me perspective on the many things that do happen on campus. It helps me to remember to keep an open mind in all situations and to only take in the facts of a situation and not preconceived notions and judgments. I am also a member of two honor societies on campus: Primannum Honor Society and W.E.B. Du Bois National Honor Society (of which I am a part of the charter class). With both of these organizations, I volunteer on projects around the community and on campus. With all of these organizations I have not only met many different people and learned so much about them, but I have learned so much about myself as well. Volunteering has a way of rewarding people, in that sense, and has definitely rewarded me.
What has your scholarship meant to you and how has it enabled you to pursue new and exciting opportunities?
My scholarship has enabled me to focus entirely on my education. I have not been bogged down by any financial issues and have not had to work--unlike some of my fellow students. I am blessed in that this scholarship has allowed me to devote myself fully to my studies; I am able to have more time to study and do outside research and to further my knowledge and grasp of the various topics of my courses. My scholarship means the world to me and fuels me to work harder and do better: I have been given a gift, and I do not intend to waste it.
Why did you choose to attend the University of Maryland, what makes this place special to you and what is your favorite part of being a Terp?
I decided to come to the University of Maryland because it offered several opportunities for someone like me. Its location was one central factor in my decision: it is far enough from home to give me a life of my own, close enough for me to get back home when needed, and also close to D.C.--which houses many government agencies and with them, the opportunity for internships. Another main factor in my decision process was the Gemstone Program. There is no other quite like it, and I knew that the Gemstone Program would give me the experience that I would need in working with others to conduct efficient research studies. I also knew that Gemstone could help expose me to other eager students who shared the same goals as I and could also give me different perspectives on how to reach them. Another factor in my decision was the cost of attendance. Maryland offers a quality education for half the price of other institutions. It offers so much for so much less, and is a great deal if I’ve ever seen one. However, the last, and most important factor in my decision was the “it” factor. Every time I visited, I could envision myself here for the next four years of my life. I could see myself going through my college experience happily and with no regrets, and without debt. I must say that no other university offered me such fulfillment without any doubt like Maryland did, which made my decision easy.
How will you make a positive difference in the world?
I hope to become an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where I will travel the world and spread the knowledge of health prevention, conducting studies and surveys to help countries control their disease issues. By helping countries, states, governments, etc. develop effective help prevention policies, I can save lives through the prevention of disease. With less disease, eventually will come lower health care costs worldwide, which could possibly lead to universal health care coverage, or at least a more improved system than that of today. By focusing on prevention, not only can people save money, but they can also save themselves from the pain and time that illness takes out of the lives of the sick and those that love and care for them. With all of these improvements, I hope to lead to a happier world.