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For the past two and half years I have had the opportunity to volunteer at the HIV Alliance in the needle exchange and harm reduction program.I feel honored to serve a community that's so frequently ignored. Each week the HIV Alliance van strategically chooses and visits locations in Eugene, OR where they safely collect used syringes in sharp containers and offer exchange for new syringes. This exchange program helps decrease the high risk of infection and spread of pathogens that can result when used syringes are shared among individuals.

 

In addition, I am also a volunteer test technician in the HIV Alliance's testing program. I love working in this area because the role allows me to encourage individuals to know their status and I am able to help people become comfortable talking about prevention methods.

HIV PREVENTION AND HARM REDUCTION

EDUCATION

I love playing the ukulele and am rarely seen without it. It's especially meaningful how music can be used to spread a positive spirit among friends and strangers alike.

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The Primate Osteology Lab and the Molecular Anthropology Group at the University of Oregon are deeply committed to giving back to the community. Each of these groups regularly participates in number of outreach activities meant to encourage a love of science and research at all ages. As a member of these labs, I was honored to participate in the following

  • Volunteer Instructor, UO’s Science Program to Inspire Creativity and Excellence (SPICE) Summer Camp. As part of SPICE camp, the Molecular Anthropology Group hosts an activity called Forensics in the Forest where camp participants solve a crime scene utilizing methods from subfields of biological anthropology.

  • Volunteer Instructor, Meet the scientist. Outreach activity with the Molecular Anthropology Group and the Eugene science center. Where kids come to museum and learn about DNA, its components, and how it varies among different species.

  • Volunteer Instructor, Primate Osteology Lab outreach lab tour for future aspiring college students. The primate osteology host a series of activities where the different subfields of biological anthropology are discussed based on the different projects ran by the lab members.

Unfortunately education is not accessible to all. This is why I joined efforts with some amazing friends to raise money for the Malala Fund. My friends and I love to sing, so over the course of a semester we set up events across the University of Oregon campus where we accepted donations for our musical performances. Together we successfully raised three thousand dollars, which will go towards eliminating barriers that currently prevent many girls around the world from receiving an education. 

I grew up in Colombia where I gained first-hand insight into the struggles underrepresented communities endure when there is a lack of resources available, specifically medical care. I have been very privileged to be a part of two organization which provide health education and care to such underrepresented communities.

 

I was able to travel to the island of Chuck, Micronesia with Caring Hands Worldwide where we set up a mobile clinic offering free dental services. With Laurelwood Academy Missions I went to El Salvador and Nicaragua. In these series of trips our group informed high school students about preventative medicine through lectures and fun activities. We also organized programs at a local church for the community’s young children. Crafts, puppet shows and music were used to encourage these kids to be healthy, take care of their bodies and embrace their individuality.

 

I appreciate these trips because they allowed me to connect with youth and learn about different cultures. Spending time abroad has widened my understanding of how education and health is addressed in different countries. Having this opportunity to observe, listen and learn from others has not only broadened my perspective, it has invigorated me to bring change. This life is full of possibilities and I am excited to use my knowledge and energy to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

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PUBLIC HEALTH