Franklin College double major (biology/psychology) Summer Roberson has built upon her experiences on campus and abroad to develop her passion for serving others:
The summer following freshman year, I studied abroad in various locations in Australia and New Zealand. My cohort included students of all ages and majors. Lectures while hiking through Carnarvon Gorge and presentations that require you to snorkel through the Great Barrier Reef are about as fun as class can get. My study abroad sparked my passion for traveling and immersing myself in other cultures.
The following winter break, I traveled with MEDLIFE, a nonprofit organization that I am a member of at UGA, to Tanzania, Africa. MEDLIFE provides medical aid and education to low-income areas in various countries as well as locally in Athens-Clarke County. This was — without a doubt — one of the most rewarding experiences I will take from my time as an undergraduate. I spent the week teaching children how to brush their teeth, assisting Tanzanian nurses and pharmacists, and shadowing Tanzanian doctors. I got to do all this alongside an astounding group of UGA (and a couple of Kansas University) students. My long-term goal to provide health care in East Africa came while sitting on a mountain side surrounded by those incredible people.
The summer following sophomore year I returned to Africa with Agape Volunteers. I taught science classes to grades three to six in the slums surrounding Nairobi, Kenya. I was placed in Gladways Mercy School under Mary Wamaitha. The goal of the volunteers was not only to educate, but also to foster a sense of family and community to the students since most have lacked this all their lives. My Swahili abilities were only somewhat past the elementary level at the time, so my classes loved making me their student to improve my language proficiency. One day a week, the volunteers also performed development initiatives by painting clinics and building desks for schools. Volunteers came from all over the world. My temporary home housed forever friends from Brazil, Ireland, United Kingdom, Lithuania and Russia. It was such a blessing to witness the world coming together to serve others.
Great students will find ways to unlock all that is UGA and the Athens community to discover themselves and their potential. Congratulations to Roberson as she embarks on a life of rewarding exploration and service. We wish her every success in the medical field and beyond.