S4SI'S ALUMNI IMPACT
S4Si would not be possible without its alumni support. Each year in the spring, we host an Auction for Education and invite our alumni back to Carolina. This event is our largest fundraiser of the year, and we're so thankful to our alumni who give generously to further a cause they've supported since college.
A year ago, during the summer after my first year of med school, I had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania to work in a medical clinic in Mwanza. Priyanka (also an S4Si alum) and I also spent a couple weeks in Zanzibar where we were able to meet the S4SI scholars and do some health education on nutrition and reproduction. It was absolutely incredible to see their growth and be reminded of all the great work that is being accomplished. It is hard to describe in words how wonderful it was to see with my own eyes that the work we had done for many years was really and truly making a difference in the lives of these remarkable young women. As an undergrad I was part of S4Si for all four years and co-directed fundraising for three of those years…exhausting, but rewarding. From all the sweat I put into the auctions I know what it takes and I most certainly hope to be able to attend future events and support S4Si’s efforts.
After graduating I moved to Oakland, California; and just recently completed a fellowship at Women’s Initiative, a Bay Area non-profit that provides entrepreneurial training and support for low-income women. I worked mostly in events planning, but was also able to interact with clients and graduates of the 11-week training program – a truly inspirational opportunity to engage with women who strive for or have achieved self-sufficiency. As a person with a passion for women’s empowerment, I could not have found a better place to begin my post-grad adventures in a community I now call home. I am still looking for full-time employment, focusing my search on events planning or program support/management in the non-profit sector. In addition, I have been involved in the Occupy Oakland community gatherings, and was able to march with tens of thousands of citizens to shut down the city Port.
Similar to many of the S4Si scholars in Tanzania, I hope to go to medical school to become a physician that gives back to my community. Traveling to Tanzania and meeting the scholars in the summer of 2008, I heard the dreams the scholars had to become doctors to improve women’s access to health care in rural areas of Zanzibar. This inspired me to continue to work with underserved populations in the future, especially focusing on minorities that struggle to receive the health care they deserve. Working with S4Si during my four years at UNC, gave me a completely new perspective on the importance of education and empowering women when working on the development of a community. The lessons I learned from S4Si will continue to guide me in my future working as a physician.
As for me, I’m currently a UNC medical student. This past summer, I traveled to Turkey to learn more about Islamic history and Islam as a religion, which is the predominant faith of our scholars. It was a wonderful trip in which I was able to meet Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his son, along with visit a few Turkish schools.
I am currently a first-year candidate for a Master of Public Administration in UNC’s School of Government. Working with S4Si was vital in my decision to pursue a career in public service. I valued the commitment we had to our scholars and the difference we made in their lives (and continue to make!), and wanted to choose a career path that would allow me to continue pursuing opportunities to change lives. In particular, I am very interested in community development. My work with S4Si helped me understand the value of an education and the impact it can have on a community. I haven’t yet chosen a focus, but non-profit management is certainly on my radar, as well. I often remember S4Si and the amazing opportunity and experience I gained from the organization.