June 27, 2017 10:30 AM

MEET THE SUMMER INTERNS 2017 (PART 2)

Written by Aidan Wells

The gang is finally all here! With the last of the interns having just arrived, the office is alive and buzzing as the MEDLIFE family continues to grow. Keep reading to learn more about our 2017 MEDLIFE Summer Interns and their stories! 

Crystal Rubalcava: MEDPrograms Intern

crystal 1Hometown: San Fernando Valley, CA
School: UC  Berkeley
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology & Integrative Biology with a Minor in Global Poverty and Practice
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?
At Berkeley, in order be a part of the MEDLIFE chapter, you have to take a class. Given the size of our school and the allotted spaces in the class being capped around 40 students, we had to apply to get in. I applied, got in, and raised enough money to go on a service learning trip this past winter. After the trip wanted to continue my work with MEDLIFE, so I applied to be an officer in my chapter and have been involved ever since. 
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I will be starting my 4th year of undergrad in the fall. I am the oldest of 4 girls and am the first in my family to move away and go to school. I am Mexican, and I live by the major three F's: Family, Food, and Fútbol. I aspire to be a physician and would like to work with the under-served people of Los Angeles because it has one of the largest Spanish speaking populations in the country but lacks medical professionals who can actually communicate with the people they work with. I would like to bridge that gap and make it easier, for people like my grandparents, to receive quality medical care.
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
After coming back from my service learning trip this summer I realized I wanted to continue working with MEDLIFE. I am skeptical of global poverty work because "dufflebag medicine" attract many voluntourists who go on medical missions to boost their resumes.  However, I find MEDLIFE to be different because it emphasizes community involvement for coordinating and planning mobile clinics and development projects. I really like the immediate medical relief with the mobile clinics AND sustainable relief with the development projects, such as building staircases with the communities of Lima. I also really just enjoyed the environment. The community members here are super friendly, and Peru is such a beautiful country. I needed to come back and explore more.
 
What was your first impression of Lima?
It is such a diverse city. I found it similar to Los Angeles where you have the extremely rich (Westwood in LA vs. Miraflores in Lima) living with malls, cell phones, Starbucks, casinos etc., and just a 30 min drive away you will find communities (Watts in LA vs. Shantytowns in Lima) that have minimal to no infrastructure. 
 
What are your goals for this internship?
I hope to gain a better understanding of what global poverty means and what the type of work in this field entails so that I can go back and share the knowledge with my chapter and anyone else who would be willing to listen.

Jana Abdul-Samad: Volunteer Affairs Intern

janaHometown: Burr Ridge, IL
School: Miami University of Oxford, Ohio
Major: Biochemistry with minors in Physics and Music Performance
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?
I learned about MEDLIFE while trying to find an organization related to my interest in medicine. I joined my chapter at Miami, and went on a mobile clinic to Moshi, Tanzania soon after. I was attracted by the deeper understanding of the social aspects of healthcare that we are not exposed to in the typical classroom. It's completely different when you're faced with it in person.
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'll be a senior at Miami this coming year. I'm from Chicago, IL, but both my parents are from Homs, Syria. I hope to attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician, continuing to care for people in a new way. I enjoy playing violin, trying new foods, cooking, traveling, and meeting new people. 
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
Before joining MEDLIFE, I had been on two brigades with Global Medical Brigades to Panama and Honduras. I decided to try a trip with MEDLIFE to Tanzania, and I really loved the way the mobile clinics are set up with a reality tour prior to actually attempting to help the community in the area. MEDLIFE exposes the truth of the situation, and provides not only the aid needed, but also the education needed to care for oneself. I knew I wanted to do something for an organization that does so much more than just send money and materials, and I wanted to help spread their message. This was the best way to do that.
 
What was your first impression of Lima?
I was kind of surprised at how cloudy it always is here during the winter. However, I've still really enjoyed the city and how different every part and neighborhood of Lima is from the next. You can choose to be anywhere based on what kind of feel you are looking for. 
 
What are your goals for this internship?
I hope that through this internship I can learn more about the sociological aspect of healthcare, and what factors are important for a community to sustain itself. I'd like to learn how to get a society on its feet and how to offer healthcare in a way that promotes development. This could help down the road, as I intend to return to Syria to help rebuild the country after the revolution. I hope I also learn a little bit more about myself and how I work with others, helping me become a more efficient individual.

Lisa Krecké: Volunteer Affairs Intern

lisaHometown: Colmar-Berg, Luxemburg
School: Leiden University College The Hague
Major: Global Public Health
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?
During the last academic year, we started a MEDLIFE Chapter at my University, and I was involved in this process as a member of the Executive Board. 
 
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Luxemburg, which is a really small country in Europe. Currently, I am studying at a Liberal Arts & Sciences College in The Hague in the Netherlands, and I will graduate during the upcoming academic year. I really enjoy getting involved in different groups and committees at my University and have very diverse interests. I love books and movies and I really enjoy sharing this excitment with people that are also passionate about these things. 
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
I really enjoyed my time on the Executive Board of our MEDLIFE Chapter and I wanted to learn more about the set-up and functioning of the organization on a global scale. I love traveling and experiencing new environments, so getting the opportunity to live in Lima for a couple of months is something that I am very excited to do. This internship will be a very valuable work experience and I hope it will help me with any future academic or professional plans. 
 
What was your first impression of Lima?
Lima is a very busy and huge city. I will have to learn how to get around and navigate within it. However, everyone has been very nice and welcoming, so I am sure that I will figure it out over time. I am very excited to explore this city and visit its many beautiful sites and areas.
 
What are your goals for this internship?
I want to learn more about community-based development work and thus have a clearer idea about careers I could see myself doing in the future. I hope to leave feeling comfortable in this city and feeling that I made many new friends. 

Melissa Montes: MEDPrograms Intern

melissaHometown: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
School: Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN
Major: Biology 
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?
I became involved with MEDLIFE because a friend of mine went on a mobile clinic trip and invited me to go with her to a second trip to Tanzania this past winter break. I have also been a part of the team trying to start a MEDLIFE chapter at my school.
 
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am laid back, easy going, and hard working person! I am from southern California and am a rising senior at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame! I love to be outside and to have fun with friends and family! 
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
I decided to become an intern because I loved my mobile clinic experience and wanted to continue to learn about and work towards MEDLIFE's mission. I think that MEDLIFE is doing so much good for so many people around the world, and I really wanted to be a part of it.
 
What was your first impression of Lima?
So far Lima reminds me a lot of Mexico! There is so much to see and do, and I'm looking forward to exploring the city! The busy city life has been very exciting and an overall awesome experience so far.
 
What are your goals for this internship?
My goals for this internship are to continue to learn about global health issues, and what we can do to help as well as improve my Spanish skills. Oh and, most importantly, to have fun! 

Noor Chadha: MEDPrograms Intern

noor 1Hometown: San Jose, California 
School: UC Berkeley
Major: I'm majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology, with an emphasis in Immunology. I'm also minoring in Global Poverty and Practice!
How did you get involved in MEDLIFE? 
I first heard about MEDLIFE as a freshman looking for organizations to join at our university's club fair. After taking UC Berkeley's student-led preparatory course for MEDLIFE mobile clinics, I came to Lima in January 2015. Prior to my trip, I questioned how I could really make a difference in two weeks. However, once in Lima, it was clear to see the impact MEDLIFE makes in the communities we work in. While an individual volunteer may only visit a given community once, MEDLIFE consistently returns and follows up with patients. Inspired by MEDLIFE's focus on community needs and sustainability, I became involved in Berkeley's MEDLIFE chapter as an officer. I started out as Spanish Director of our preparatory course, and now I'm our chapter's co-president! 
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a rising senior at UC Berkeley. Besides MEDLIFE, I work to connect patients with community resources at a hospital in Oakland, study the molecular underpinnings of Chlamydia trachomatis at a research lab, and dance on a Bhangra team! (Cal Bhangra - check us out!)
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
Whenever I recruit members for our UC Berkeley MEDLIFE chapter, I consistently find myself emphasizing MEDLIFE's focus on follow up care and sustainability. I love MEDLIFE's holistic mission of comprehensively helping patients live healthier lives, and I'm excited to actually be a part of MEDLIFE's long term work as an intern. 
 
What was your first impression of Lima?
My first impression of Lima was two and a half years ago when I came on a mobile clinic here. I remember loving to explore the gorgeous, fun, and metropolitan city. However, I also remember being struck by how close yet how different the lifestyles were between where we lived in Miraflores and where we worked in Pueblos Jovenes. Going back and forth between both locations every day was an extremely thought provoking experience. 
 
What are your goals for this internship?
I am excited to connect theories and paradigms from my Global Poverty coursework to real life poverty action. I have studied the historical and cultural contexts of MEDLIFE's work in an academic setting, but I hope to learn a lot about what it actually means to sustainably combat health inequities on the ground. I am also excited to build relationships with both my fellow interns and with community members. I hope to have a meaningful impact while I am here, and also to take perspectives and memories with me that I can continue to apply once I leave!

Sydney Tang: Volunteer Affairs Intern

sydneyHometown: Danville, CA 
School: University of California, Los Angeles
Major: Undeclared in Life Sciences
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE? 
I went on my first mobile clinic last year in Riobamba, Ecuador! I actually didn't know about the trip until after the registration deadline passed, but I reached out to MEDLIFE asking if there was any way I could join. Next thing I knew, I had my bags packed and was on a plane to Quito! My experience in Riobamba opened my eyes up to a new perspective in health, and fueled me to learn more about the social, cultural, and political determinants that affect health. It was one thing to learn about these issues in school, but a whole different experience to actually see them in person.
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I am an upcoming junior at UCLA! I love being in LA because there is always something to do, or somewhere to go. Hiking, playing soccer, crafting, and trying new foods are some of my favorite things to do. I also love finding new music (Ed Sheeran and The Beatles are some of my all-time favorites), and I would love to start a vinyl record collection sometime soon. Although I haven't decided on a career path yet, I know that I am passionate about helping underserved communities and I want to work in healthcare in the future.
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
After my trip to Riobamba, I went home feeling like my trip was cut short. I had an amazing experience, but I wanted to do something more.  I decided to become an intern because it was an incredible opportunity to work toward sustainable change alongside other passionate individuals. MEDLIFE's mission resonates with me, and I truly believe in the work that we do.
 
What was your first impression of Lima?
Lima is way bigger than I imagined. I was overwhelmed at first, but I have loved everything about it so far. I took Spanish for a few years in high school, but I want to challenge myself and practice it whenever I can. I can't wait to just walk around and explore everything that Lima has to offer.
 
What are your goals for this internship?
My goals for this internship are to keep an open mind, try anything and everything, and be mindful of everything I do. Whether its struggling to improve my Spanish, or going the extra mile with a project, I want to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone and make an active effort to learn as much as I can. I am so grateful to be here in Lima, and I want to make the best of this experience.
 
14 12 2568MEDLIFE Summer Interns and staff at a night meeting to discuss a future clean water project in the community of 15C
June 22, 2017 10:30 AM

MEET THE STAFF: CARMEN NARVAEZ

Written by Aidan Wells
Carmen Narvaez is a nurse technician, and a part of the MEDPrograms team. The nurses on the MEDLIFE team work directly in the communities to ensure patient follow-up care. The patient follow-up team conducts individual patient visits, checks in on patients who present serious symptoms, and delivers exam results. When a Mobile Clinic participant receives abnormal test results, this is the team that accompanies him/her in each step along the way to recovery. Carmen loves working directly with patients to look after their needs, support them, and make them happy.
 
18839222 1450080975030940 6631311400114263089 nMembers of the MEDPrograms team are constantly in the field working on mobile clinics, providing patient follow-up, and working with community members to ensure successful MEDLIFE initiatives.
 
Where are you from? 
I'm from Lima, and I live in San Juan de Lurigancho.
 
How did you get involved with MEDLIFE? 
I saw an announcement that they were looking for nurses to work here in MEDLIFE. So, I applied, and I was accepted and had the opportunity to become a part of the MEDLIFE team. 
 
What is it that you like most about working with MEDLIFE? 
I love visiting the patients. I like working directly in the clinics, and leading the educational workshops.
 
14 12 7331Here, Carmen demonstrates the steps of a Pap smear exam at a night-time educational workshop in Villa El Salvador.
 
Can you name a particular patient that has had a strong impact on you? 
Yes, there are many patients that have an impact on us because you get to see, first-hand, the help that you can give. The help you're providing the patients is sometimes much more emotional than simply medical. You want to treat them well because sometimes all that the patients want is someone to listen to their problems. Many times, their ailments aren't just of the body. There are times when you're speaking to a patient, and they have so many things stored in them that the moment they start telling you all their problems, their illnesses, it makes you sad because you see everything they have gone through. 
 
Before MEDLIFE, what were your experiences with non-profit/humanitarian organizations?
Before MEDLIFE, I worked with another NGO called Manuela Ramoswhose work focuses on women's sexual and reproductive rights. The organization aims to empower women to make their own decisions about using methods of contraception, to report when there is any kind of violence towards them, and to make the decision to have regular Pap smear exams.
 
14 12 1Carmen makes a follow-up visit with Maura Morales, a MEDLIFE patient who was in a moto-taxi accident and required major reconstructive surgery.
 
Why is this work important to you? 
I think that sometimes the work we do is to try and help women understand that their health is a priority. Women are often caretakers. They care for the health of their families, the husband, the children, but they do not care about their health. Most of the time patients who have cancer or other severe illnesses are women. They are often made to understand that, as women, we are the healthcare providers of the family, but our health becomes a part of the background.
 
What do you do in your free time?
I do a lot of work at home. I like to go dancing or go for a walk, but mostly I like to spend the weekends relaxing in my house.
 
15776874 1292474324124940 1535702963453788041 oOn clinic weeks, one of Carmen's many responsibilities includes working with volunteers to fill patients' perscriptions.
Thirty-six year old Dr. Carolina Wong has been working with MEDLIFE as a dentist in Lima for almost two years. She was first motivated to pursue medicine because of her desire and drive to connect with patients and help people with their problems. With her passion for serving others, Dr. Carolina was a natural fit for the MEDLIFE team. 
 
We sat down with Dr. Carolina to learn more about her story. 
 
14 12 6359Dr. Carolina Wong is one of several dentists who work regularly with MEDLIFE in Lima.
 
What inspired you to work in MEDLIFE's Mobile Clinics?
I really like working with MEDLIFE because I get to have direct contact with the people volunteering, trying to resolve the patients' questions and ailments. 
 
 Where do you work when you are not on a Mobile Clinic?
I work in a dental practice. I also work in schools with small children as a part of the Qali Warma project, in which I attend to children 11 years old and younger. 
 
 How would you describe Lima?
 Beautiful, with a lot of people. The people are very good, friendly, caring, and kind. 
 
18814624 1454676647904706 3265541971776728848 oHere, Dr. Carolina works to fill a cavity on a Mobile Clinic patient.
 
What experience has impacted you the most since working on Mobile Clinics? Is there a particular case or patient? 
Yes, with this work, a lot of the cases have a huge impact on us. There are so many families and places here in Lima... There's no way to know all of the communities. There are far away communities that we don't even know exist, where there are people with diverse problems. They always try to get ahead with what little they have, but it's always with a smile. I remember I once met a mother who had four small children and her only work was selling vegetables. So through selling vegetables, she was able to earn enough money to send her kids to public school. All that being said she still always had her children well cared for and protected. I'll always remember the care and protection that mother showed her children. 
 
What do you enjoy the most about Mobile Clinics? 
I enjoy being able to help people. I enjoy when the students come. I love getting to know them, being able to interact with them, and being able to respond to their expectations and answer their questions... I like that we are able to all be one family.  
 
What would you tell future volunteers who come on a Mobile Clinic?  
I would tell them that they are going to have a really great experience with the patients here in Peru, the adults as much as the kids. They are going to learn a lot with us at every station: dental, OBGYN, general medicine, pharmacy...and they're going to experience that Lima heat! 

 

14 12 6366Dr. Carolina Wong is an invaluable member of the MEDLIFE team. She always works very closely with volunteers to ensure they get the most of their Mobile Clinic experience.

The first half of our Summer 2017 Interns have finally arrived in Lima! Keep reading to learn more about them!

Aidan Wells: Communications Intern

aidanHometown: Alpharetta, Georgia
School: University of Georgia
Major: Biology & Spanish with a minor in Global Health
How did you get involved in MEDLIFE?
I joined the UGA Chapter of MEDLIFE my freshman year of college after I heard the former chapter president shouting at an activities fair about, "an incredible opportunity to serve people living in low-income areas around the globe." MEDLIFE has so much to offer both locally and abroad, so I've been involved ever since! 
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm an upcoming senior at the University of Georgia. I'm a self-taught graphic designer, and I especially love creating art for t-shirts and posters. I'm really in to travel and Spanish, and I spent the summer of 2016 studying Spanish and interning at a pediatric hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I also love crochet, movies, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. 
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
I've been really involved in my school's chapter, but I've only had the opportunity to attend one mobile clinic. I've always wanted to be able to help MEDLIFE National in another way, and since I served as the advertising chair for my chapter two years in a row, becoming the Communications intern was naturally the next step! 
 
What was your first impression of Lima?
Lima is much more metropolitan than Cusco, where I had the opportunity to go on a mobile clinic in January 2016. The city is massive. Everyone keeps telling me I can find anything I could ever want in the city, but I can barely find my way to the office in the mornings. I can't wait to see what all Lima has in store!
 
What are your goals for this internship?
I hope that I can bring a fresh take and a new voice to MEDLIFE National and the way they are represented on social media. Volunteers and local MEDLIFE chapters are so crucial to the way MEDLIFE works, and social media is one of the number one ways they keep up with what national has planned. I hope to be able to connect with chapters, volunteers, and anyone else who wants to know what it is that we here at MEDLIFE do. Also, I'm hoping my Spanish skills improve a little since I am majoring in it after all!

Aly Beeman: Volunteer Affairs Intern

alissaHometown: Boulder, Colorado
School: University of Tampa 
Major: I am majoring in public health with a concentration in health education and promotion! I will also have a minor in sociology 
How did you get involved in MEDLIFE? 
One of my professors encouraged me to get involved with MEDLIFE since she knew about my love for global health. MEDLIFE at the time was brand new so it was pretty easy to find was to get involve and help create the new chapter! I have since been on the Executive Board working as the Volunteer Coordinator. 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Whenever I get a chance to hop on an airplane I'll travel some place new. So far I have traveled to 15 countries and I have studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa! I am planning on joining the Peace Corps after I get my masters in global health and epidemiology. You can usually find me laying around in my Eno hammock and drinking coffee! I am an avid skier but also like spending the day at the beach.
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
I wanted to become a MEDLIFE Intern because it meant that I would be able to join and learn from a team of highly motivated individuals that have invested themselves in transforming health care systems around the world. MEDLIFE gives a platform to allow people to unite and invoke real change in the face of global health. I wanted to work with an organization that pushed me out of my comfort zone and let me see the world in a new way. I wanted to intern with MEDLIFE specifically because I believe it is all encompassing work. I set out to find an internship that stood by my favorite quote by Paul Farmer, "medicine can only treat the symptoms of poverty." Becoming an intern with MEDLIFE has given me the opportunity to call my passion "work."
 
What was your first impression of Lima?
My first impression of Lima is that it is a complex alluring city. Lima is very large and has anything and everything that you could want! It is vibrant and infectious with its energy. Lima is the kind of city that what you put into it, you will get out of it. I am excited to surf and take salsa classes this summer!
 
What are your goals for this internship?
With my internship in MEDLIFE, I hope to learn how to better fight for global health equity. I want to learn how to take what I have learned in school and actually apply it to real people and communities that need help. It is easy to point out problems in a health system but translating them to sustainable solutions is another thing entirely. Building bridges to easier and affordable health care is no easy task but I believe that MEDLIFE can give me the tools access that knowledge and make those relationships to do so!

Brandy Collum: Volunteer Affairs Intern

brandyHometown: Harvest, Alabama
School: The University of Alabama
Major: Marketing and Spanish
How did you get involved in MEDLIFE? 
My roommate, who is from Athens, Georgia, has several friends who are involved in the MEDLIFE chapter at UGA. One of her friends attended a summer mobile clinic and heard that his experience was incredible. As I was deciding what I wanted to do for the summer, she mentioned the possibility of MEDLIFE, so I looked into this option, and was captivated. I immediately applied for the internship because I realized I couldn't pass up the opportunity to genuinely serve workers, volunteers, and patients abroad.
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am from Sweet Home Alabama, but I have some Mexican ties since my mother is from Guadalajara. I am currently an upcoming senior at The University of Alabama. I have a passion for people and traveling, but more specifically, I enjoying assisting others across the world in any way I can. I have been a part of a summer Christian camp known as Pine Cove where I traveled all through different cities in Texas for seven weeks which lead to organizing a camp in Panama for a week. I have also served abroad for a nonprofit called Filter of Hope in Dominican Republic. In addition, I enjoy hiking, biking, cooking, and drinking a lot of coffee.
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
After doing research about MEDLIFE's mission and finding out information regarding the internship, I realized it could immensely benefit me as a college student who is trying to decide what career path best fits me. I had always considered working for a nonprofit, but I had never had any experience working in the office because I did not want to give away serving hands-on in the community. However, this internship entailed both aspects which was great! I had the opportunity to assist in mobile clinics, serve in the projects, and help in the office. I also appreciated that it was located in a Spanish speaking country I had never been before which was an opportunity for me to experience a new culture. 
 
What was your first impression of Lima?
It is a little crazy, and very very very different from my hometown which was overwhelming in the beginning. The buildings are wall-to-wall, traffic is endless and hectic, and Spanish is spoken all around, but it offers such a unique culture. I would describe Lima as vibrant and dynamic with delicious food.
 
What are your goals for this internship?
I hope through this internship I am able to gain more knowledge about MEDLIFE and what goes on behind the scene since I do not have a well established chapter at my own university. I also hope to serve the community well and provide for their basic needs and show them love and care they are desperate for. I hope to meet new people and obtain a wider perspective in life. Also, I hope this internship will help me decide if I will be interested in a career similar to this internship in the future. 

Grace Akin: Volunteer Affairs Intern

grace
Hometown: Maryville, IL
School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Major: Molecular & Cellular Biology
How did you get involved in MEDLIFE? 
I first heard about MEDLIFE from an advertisement for a general body meeting in my major’s newsletter. I was intrigued and decided to go to the first meeting. When I got there, I immediately noticed the passion and excitement the executive board members had for MEDLIFE’s mission & I decided to keep going to meetings. I learned more about global health and the root causes of poverty and then got to experience them firsthand during a mobile clinic in Riobamba, Ecuador. It was during that week that I fell in love with MEDLIFE and what they were doing for so many people. I joined my chapter’s executive board the following year and have been involved ever since. I am going to be our chapter’s president for the 2017-18 year and I am very excited to take what I learn here in Lima back to my own chapter!
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m going to be a senior at the University of Illinois this upcoming school year. I enjoy knitting and am currently working on my first pair of socks. Additionally, I like to run and am training to run the Chicago Marathon this October. I’m a fan of the outdoors, love to hike & am excited to explore the beautiful nature here in Lima!
 
Why did you decide to become an intern? 
I decided to become an intern because I wanted to get further my involvement with MEDLIFE and get to experience mobile clinic work all summer long rather than just one week. You learn so much during a mobile clinic week and I wanted to be able to have that learning experience for as long as possible. I also wanted to become an intern to see the reality behind what I’m learning in my global health classes and to grow both personally and professionally.
 
What was your first impression of Lima? 
Miraflores is beautiful! I was first in Lima during a mobile clinic trip in March 2016 and initially found the city to be lovely. I can’t wait to see all that Lima has in store!
 
What are your goals for this internship? 
My first goal is to learn some Spanish. It was a little intimidating to move to a country where I don’t speak the language but I am excited to be able to learn Spanish while I’m here! I also want to further my understanding and education about public health, Peru’s healthcare system, and the ways in which poverty manifests itself within a community. There’s always more to learn and I want to use my time here in Lima to take in and learn as much as possible so I can take it back to my own MEDLIFE chapter.

Julia Jashinski: Volunteer Affairs Intern

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PAjulia
School: The Ohio State University 
Major: I am majoring in public health with a sociology specialization. 
How did you get involved in MEDLIFE? 
I became involved with MEDLIFE during my freshman year as a member of the chapter at OSU. This past year I served as the Public Relations Coordinator on our executive board and attended a mobile clinic in Cusco, Peru during my winter break. 
 
Tell us a little about yourself. 
I'm a rising junior at THE Ohio State University. I really like to try new things, adventuring, and reading. I aspire to have the humor of Chandler from Friends, the whip is my go-to dance move, and I've been a vegetarian for almost a year because of a dare.
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
I decided to accept the Volunteer Affairs internship with MEDLIFE because the mission of the organization is something that resonates strongly with me. MEDLIFE really takes on a comprehensive approach to health that aims to treat the root causes of illness as well as the symptoms in the areas that we work in. This organization has a genuine connection to the communities that we work in. I saw an opportunity to apply my skill, passion, and interest to an organization dedicated to sustainable health outcomes and decided to take it by joining the MEDLIFE team as a summer intern. 
 
What was your first impression of Lima? 
I was amazed with Lima from the second that I arrived. I have always been drawn to large cities and the fast paced lifestyle of urban areas. Lima has a bit of everything so I was immediately excited to be able to see all of it and call it home for the three months I'm here!
 
What are your goals for this internship?  
When I leave this internship I hope I can go with an improved knowledge of sustainable practices of non-governmental organizations. By learning more about how MEDLIFE creates working partnerships that benefit the community beyond the initial mobile clinic, I can apply this my future career. Additionally as a Volunteer Affairs intern, I hope to be able to connect with the volunteers on our mobile clinics in Lima and help them find their passion, whether it is global health or not, and how to apply that to their lives back at home. I'd also like improve my very minimal Spanish speaking ability. 

Keilly Pulgar: Volunteer Affairs Intern

keillyHometown: Tampa, Florida
School: University of Florida
Major: Nutritional Sciences & Italian Studies minor
How did you get involved in MEDLIFE?  
I first found out about MEDLIFE while I was a junior in high school. I have a sister that is two years older than me and one of her friends at the time did a MEDLIFE mobile clinic in Lima, Peru with the USF MEDLIFE chapter. I remember being super interested in doing something similar and told myself I would participate in a clinic once I was in college. UF MEDLIFE was the first organization I joined when I started my studies at the University of Florida. I immediately signed up for their winter trip to Tena, Ecuador and loved it so much that I also participated in a mobile clinic in Cusco, Peru that same school year.
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela and my family and I immigrated to the United States when I was just 4 years old. I have two wonderful, supportive parents, an older sister, and a twin brother. I've always been super close to my parents and my siblings, they're my best friends. I love to travel and try to immerse myself in different cultures as often as possible. I am currently a Pre-Med (or Pre-PA, still trying to figure it out) student and hope to one day practice medicine in underserved communities. I also want to serve some time in the Peace Corps, ideally after my college graduation. 
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
I decided to become an intern because I wanted to experience what MEDLIFE was like outside of my chapter. I have a good friend who was a previous intern and she pretty much sold me on it from the beginning, she didn't even have to say much. I knew I was passionate about working with underserved populations but I also knew I didn't know much about how I could help or even how to start. I figured working as a MEDLIFE intern would be a great way to learn more about non-profit work and how successful and sustainable NGOs are run. When I found out I got the internship I was ecstatic! I knew I wanted come into this internship with an open mind and with a desire to learn anything and everything. I've only been here a few days and I already feel as if I've learned so much about MEDLIFE, Peru, and the people we help. I hope to take back my knowledge and apply it not only in my chapter but in other parts of my life as well. 
What was your first impression of Lima?
I tend to fall in love with pretty much every city I visit, so it wasn't super difficult to fall in love with Lima either. I spent my first weekend here exploring the Miraflores and Barranco districts with some of the other interns. There's so much to do and see here-- I've already started forming my Lima bucket list. 
At the same time, it is shocking to see how the line between the rich and the poor in this city and how it may go unnoticed to some people. Many would assume the more poverty-stricken areas would be far away from the more wealthy areas, but they are literally separated by a wall and only minutes away from each other. 
 
What are your goals for this internship?
My goal for this internship is to learn as much as possible. I want to learn about MEDLIFE's patients, the communities we help develop, and the people who work so hard to make it all happen. I want to work closely with people who have the same goal as me but may think differently, therefore challenging me to think critically about everything. Personally, I hope my time here helps me discover my strengths, weaknesses, and everything in between. Aside from all the good MEDLIFE does, I think this internship is an opportunity to help me grow in ways I would never think I needed to. Ultimately, I hope to make something out of my time as a MEDLIFE intern and plan to use my experience to expand my ideas and help others no matter where I am in the world. 

Neil Doshi: Volunteer Affairs Intern

neilHometown: Johns Creek, GA
School: University of Georgia
Major: Biology and Psychology
How did you get involved in MEDLIFE? 
Prior to starting my freshman year at UGA, I felt a little overly ambitious and started looking into organizations to join. I asked my sister for advice and she told me about MEDLIFE and her friend’s experiences with the organization. After hearing about the MEDLIFE’s work, I became extremely interested in joining the organization, and I showed up to their first meeting after being reminded of the organization through a poster at a library. I was immediately engrossed by their mission, take on global health, and their work’s impact global. So, I began actively participating in my chapter’s volunteer and fundraising events. My sophomore year I went on my first mobile clinic to Lima, Peru and now I am here, interning with MEDLIFE HQ!  
 
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Michigan and moved to Georgia when I was around 10 years old. I am heading into my junior year of college. I love watching NFL football, and I am a die-hard Atlanta Falcons fan! I also enjoy watching TV shows such as Suits, watching movies, photography, playing sports, and traveling around the world. 
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
After coming back from my Lima mobile clinic during my winter break, I felt even more passionate about MEDLIFE’s mission involving global health care and combating poverty. Specifically, I truly believed in MEDLIFE’s methodology in creating sustainable programs and the congruency of the three MED (Medicine, Education, and Development) pillars. Thus, I was keen on getting even more involved and learning more about the organization. I felt that serving as an intern would provide me with the opportunity to develop a unique perspective on global health and allow me to serve underserved communities, which would serve me well in pursuing my future goals/ambitions. 
 
What was your first impression of Lima?
My first impression of Lima when I first visited the city on a mobile clinic was of how populous and developed it was in terms of traffic and buildings. I was also surprised how multi-cultured the city as it had a plethora of American fast food chains and also restaurants from places such as India and the Middle East. 
 
What are your goals for this internship?
One of my goals for the internship involves developing my communication/public speaking skills, leadership skills, and Spanish-speaking skills. I also hope to gain a better perspective on the various barriers and injustices faced by the people/communities that I will be working with, and also to have a meaningful impact on those groups. 

Sahand Eftekari: Volunteer Affairs Intern

sahanHometown: River Falls, WI   
School:  University of Wisconsin - Madison
Major: B.S. Biomedical Engineering
How did you get involved in MEDLIFE?
I'm a member of the MEDLIFE Wisconsin Chapter, and I was lucky enough to attend a volunteer trip in Lima, Peru.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I just finished my junior year at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and enjoy building things.  In my spare time, I enjoy reading and running.  I hope to someday attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician.
 
Why did you decide to become an intern?
I wanted to become more involved with MEDLIFE and help this non-profit provide aid to more people that desperately need it.
 
What was your first impression of Lima?
Lima is a very metropolitan environment with many different sites to see and things to do.  One step outside of this shell the city becomes very heterogeneous with impoverished areas and affluent communities bordering each other, just out of site of one another.
 
What are your goals for this internship?
I'd like to help MEDLIFE coordinate volunteer trips and have a better understanding of the inner mechanics of this non-profit organization.
 
IMG 6757Our 2017 Summer Interns spent their first week working in the field to help build a safer staircase in the Bella Vista Community.
Twenty-seven year old doctor Evelin Mota describes her childhood as being centered around serving people.  Having a mother who was a nurse, Evelin spent a lot of time in hospitals growing up, and became aware of the existence of people in need. She remembers her mother's exciting work environment and the joys of being able to help those in need. Inspired by her childhood, Evelin decided to pursue a career in medicine.
 
IMG 3665Dr. Evelin Mota attended medical school at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) in her hometown of Lima, Perú.
 
What inspired you to work in MEDLIFE's Mobile Clinics?
I found out about MEDLIFE on Facebook and through my friend Alexandra Nuñez, who also works for MEDLIFE. I was attracted to this non-profit by the dynamics of MEDLIFE such as attending patients, conversing in english, and teaching foreign students, all while simultaneously helping those in need.
 
How long have you been working for MEDLIFE?
This is my second month working with them.
 
Where do you work when you are not in Mobile Clinics?
Currently, MEDLIFE is the only work I do; I am preparing for a residency program in the United States to further my medical career and do not have much free time for additional work. MEDLIFE is helping me ready myself for this tremendous opportunity. 
 
What experience impacted you the most when working in Mobile Clinics? Any particular case or patient? 
Today has been the most impactful day so far. Many of the patients I met with today at our Mobile Clinic had high blood pressure, but most of them had no idea what this means. These patients were very eager to learn how to lower their blood pressure, and carried a smile on their faces throughout the entire process. Our patients listened closely to our recommendations and understood the importance of properly taking their medications and adjusting their lifestyle accordingly. 
 
What do you enjoy the most in the Mobile Clinics? 
When working in Mobile Clinics, I enjoy the interaction among the patients, volunteers, and doctors the most. This interactive relationship is beneficial for all. The volunteers are able to learn about diagnoses and treating patients, the doctors are improving their english pronunciation, and, most importantly, the patients are receiving proper medical care.
 
What would you tell to the future volunteers that will come to a Mobile Clinics?  
This an amazing opportunity. I feel very happy and fortunate to be here. People should come on MEDLIFE trips for a chance to also live this experience.

IMG 3616Here, Dr. Mota attends new patients at a mobile clinic in Lima, Peru.

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