Lauren S.

$1,000 Health Scholarship Award Winner

Before I knew it, my feet gave way, and I slid down the muddy hill, landing hard on my side. Sure, I was in pain and embarrassed, but, more importantly, I felt that I was in the right place. After a long time of confusion and lost direction, I had finally arrived at a destination: Las Planes, Santa Maria, Honduras. It was a warm, humid day in May, and, there I was, on a medical mission with the U.S. military to screen for anemia and malnutrition and to conduct a nutritional study. Two weeks prior, I had arrived in the country to teach English to elementary students for a class. I was really not a teacher- no, visiting Honduras was a personal quest to see the developing world and its health disparities for myself. By lucky chance, I met the mission team through mutual contact and was offered a chance to accompany them. Trekking down the steep, narrow dirt roads past tiny houses and curious townspeople, I was in a dream come true.

Like many biology students, I expected to go to medical school and end up with a small-town practice, but, after two years of college, I questioned whether I would truly feel happy pursuing that path. I certainly wanted to be involved in improving health, but I also wanted a career where I was always challenged, trying new things, connecting with different people and their cultures, and making an impact. Then, I discovered the field of global health and read about doctors and researchers overseas who dedicated their lives to combating the world’s most terrible diseases. Believing I had found a match, I immediately began planning my own international experiences, and the rest was history!

Only a few months later, I am already set to go on a second trip, this time to Haiti with a team of clinical laboratory scientists. Hoping to one day work for an international health agency, I am also applying to graduate school to study global health and infectious disease. I am truly excited to begin such a lifelong career in health!

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Across the country, both private and public institutions of higher education have announced that they will be test-optional for students applying to enter school in the fall of 2021. This policy, instituted as a response to coronavirus cancellations of standardized testing dates, comes with the caveat that it would only exist during next year’s round of admissions. But the University of California system has gone in an entirely different direction by announcing that will no longer require the SAT or ACT for all California state applicants. [...]

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by Izzy Hall

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