Bettering Society: Volunteering at Prolepsis
By junior year of college, many students are thinking about internships, careers, and where they want to be after graduation. While studying abroad may be a step away from normal academic life, this doesn’t mean the career discernment process is put on pause.
For CYA students Clare Woolschlager and Trevina Soliman, communicating with the CYA Student Affairs department and Nadia Melinioti, (exec. Director), their semester abroad has provided them with the perfect opportunity to continue working toward their career goals while simultaneously helping their new local community.
Clare and Trevina are both biology majors back at their home institution of Siena College. Trevina is planning on going to medical school, and is primarily interested in neurology. Clare was also pre-med, but is now considering becoming a biology teacher.
Prolepsis Institute is a non-profit organization that researches public health issues such as health promotion, lifestyle, and diet. As volunteers at Prolepsis Institute of Preventive Medicine Environmental and Occupational Health, Clare and Trevina honed their scientific research skills while working on public health projects aimed at benefiting the community at large.
During their time at the organization, they often helped with tasks like literature reviews, proofreading scientific papers, or jump-starting new projects. But the organization is more than just a research institute: Prolepsis specifically researches topics aimed at helping marginalized communities.
While both of them have helped with medical work back in the US, such as shadowing or interning, they agreed that the work they did at Prolepsis has been a new and engaging opportunity for them. The research-heavy work they did provided them with real experience that will help them down the line, as Trevina pointed out that “being able to read and understand scientific papers is really important for our classes and our future.” The critical thinking and analytical skills they sharpened at Prolepsis are traits that will serve them well for a long time to come.
“My work here has been about more than adding skills to my resume,” says Clare. The goal of the organization, aiming to improve the lives of those in low-income and refugee communities, has brought the two girls onto a team with a mission larger than just themselves.
“My favourite part of my experience working with Prolepsis is knowing that everyone I worked with is committed to the same goal: bettering society and human health”.
As the semester comes to a close, these two will be going back home with new skills, new knowledge, and a new perspective on what it means to work in the medical field.