Lauren S.

$1,000 Scholarships.com 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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