"I discovered CESP when I learned I could volunteer to get an Honors Experience. I care deeply about equitable health care and education because I am a pre-med minority student and I believe that equitable health care and education can lead to a better society."
Major(s): Human Physiology; Sociology
Minor(s)/Academic Program(s): Integrative Neuroscience
Graduation: Spring 2023
Tell us about how you discovered CESP and what made you want to join? What are social issues you care deeply about and why do you engage with the communities you do?
I discovered CESP when I learned I could volunteer to get an Honors Experience. I care deeply about equitable health care and education because I am a pre-med minority student and I believe that equitable health care and education can lead to a better society.
Where are you currently volunteering (names of organizations)? How did you get involved with each organization? Why did you choose to volunteer at each organizations? What views do you currently hold of each organization (will you continue or find other opportunities, why?) How have these organizations impacted your undergraduate education so far?
Ronald McDonald House and Franklin Learning Center. I heard about the RMH through multiple pre-med clubs on campus, and I wanted to volunteer there because I really believe in their mission of supporting sick kids and their families. I heard about the FLC through the Summer of EngageMNt program. I chose to volunteer there because I have always enjoyed tutoring my friends and I wanted to help people study for their citizenship tests and learn English, especially because both of my parents are immigrants. I have stopped volunteering at RMH because of COVID, but I will continue to volunteer at the FLC because it is online, and I really feel that I am making a positive impact on my community. These organizations have taught me so much about giving back to my community, and they have opened my eyes to the inequalities in this society.
Tell us about a meaningful/memorable community engagement experience to date.
One memorable experience I had was math tutoring through the Franklin Learning Center. I explained how to find equivalent fractions to my student, and I loved seeing the “aha” look on her face. It really made me feel like I was impacting my community in a positive way.
What has been the biggest impact of CESP on your community engagement experiences / mindset so far and why (specific reflections, RAP Sessions, advising appointment, etc.)?
The Ethic of Service reflection allowed me to stop and reflect on why I do community service and what service means to me for the first time. It made me realize how much I have learned from doing community service over the years, and it made me even more excited to continue volunteering in my community.
What has been the biggest impact of CESP on your professional goals/career so far?
Volunteering with the Franklin Learning Center through CESP has helped me realize that I want to work with underserved communities and minorities when I become a doctor because I have really enjoyed working with the students there, who are mostly Somali immigrants.
What are useful ways that we can continue to promote CESP to your peers on campus (i.e. tabling in specific locations, going into specific classes to do pitches, etc.)? What would you say to a current UMN student if you were trying to recruit them to join CESP?
I would recommend partnering with pre-med organizations and events to advertise CESP since many pre-meds are passionate or want to get involved in volunteering. I would say “CESP has an amazing community, and it allows you to reflect and think critically about volunteering. It is also a great way to get involved and give back, as well as learn about the community around us.”
We are currently faced with many different obstacles than we have ever before (or at least we are facing them in a very different way). What advice or thoughts would you like to share with the CESP community about how to still find meaningful community engagement opportunities, general advice or hopeful / uplifting quotes you would like to share, or anything else that comes to mind as you have been reflecting on what this academic year might look and feel like for us.
Even though we might feel isolated from the communities we are trying to serve, we can still make meaningful connections with them and have impactful experiences. Do not be disheartened by these new challenges because we can still make a difference and touch lives, even though it may be in a different way than before.