My volunteer work IHN allowed me to put a face to the statistics about homelessness in my home city of Cincinnati, Ohio. During my time as a volunteer with this organization, I began to recognize the importance of humanity and compassion in public policy. While volunteering, I helped serve the families dinner, ate with them, and played with the kids until they went to bed. These children were just like any other— they wanted to play Wii, paint their nails, swing, and play soccer. However, they were far too young to fully understand the situation that they and their parents were in. This work allowed me to see firsthand the effects of modern wealth inequality on individuals who are caught in the cycle of poverty, and I became inspired to use my college education to help others. This realization, along with my interest in nutrition and health, led me to the study of public health, which, for me, represents the intersection of these two passions.
At Emory, I have continued my involvement in public health by volunteering with Emory Food Chain, a student-run organization that works to reduce food waste at Emory by distributing extra food from the dining halls to local homeless shelters. I also participated in an Alternative Fall Break trip to Savannah, Georgia, the theme of which was “Intersections of Identity and Food Justice”. On this trip, organized by Volunteer Emory, we volunteered with a variety of organizations addressing food insecurity in Savannah and examined the issue through different perspectives.
My volunteer work in high school and college has inspired me to enter the field of community health and food justice. I want to study public health so I can address the needs of under-served communities at the policy level and represent those who do not have the opportunity to represent themselves. By learning about the needs of these communities both in a traditional classroom setting and through hands-on learning outside of the classroom, I will be more prepared to create positive change and make a real difference in people’s lives.