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Emma Duge ’20 volunteers with FAME Medical in Tanzania

By Contributing Writer on January 9, 2018

Emma Duge '20 interns in Tanzania

This summer, I worked for a non-profit organization in Karatu, Tanzania called FAME (Foundation for African Medicine and Education). Their mission is to improve the quality and accessibility of medical care in rural Tanzania and they provide patient-centered, rather than profit-oriented care to all, even those who cannot afford it. I was given the opportunity to shadow doctors in the hospital’s inpatient, outpatient, and maternity wards. Often, I was able to assist the medical team in minor procedures and surgeries as they were more than willing to teach me and I was eager to learn from them. Aside from working in the hospital, I created an oral hygiene program for primary students and presented the program at many schools in the region. It involved teaching children how to maintain proper oral hygiene and I provided students with toothbrushes I made from a local “toothbrush tree” and taught them how to make one themselves so they had a sustainable way to practice these techniques.

This experience has been eye-opening. I worked with Tanzanian and Maasai patients every day and through this work I was able to develop a greater sense of humanity and empathy for others. I found through my time here that my purpose in life is to serve the poorest of the poor throughout the world, because no one deserves to be deprived of basic human needs such as quality health care simply because they cannot afford it or if it is unavailable. I will return to Colgate with an enhanced worldview.

In general, I believe it is incredibly important and valuable to venture out into the world and experience foreign cultures. By immersing myself within Tanzanian culture and learning Swahili, my experience working at the hospital was greatly enhanced. Apart from the cultural benefits of working at FAME, I was able to witness and assist with many things in the hospital that would not be possible for undergraduates in a pre-med internship in the U.S.

Alexandra Marrone ’16 Volunteers at the National Institutes of Health

By Contributing Writer on December 4, 2015
Alexandra Marrone '16 conducting lab research at the National Institutes of Health

Alexandra Marrone ’16 conducting lab research at the National Institutes of Health.

This summer I was able to work for the National Institutes of Health. I worked in the NIDDK, or the Institute for Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney diseases. The NIH is located in Bethesda, MD, but I was lucky enough to live in DC for the summer. My lab was looking at the effects of a certain growth factor, TGF-Beta, on different tissues of the body in regards to diabetes and obesity. My work was primarily with neurons, which was unexpected because I had literally no neuroscience background when I entered the lab! I had to do a lot of hard work and reading in order to get a handle on what I was doing, but it has been totally worth it. Just learning about how to learn all the new topics for lab research has been a great skill in itself. I think that is one of my biggest takeaways from this experience. Lab work isn’t about knowing a ton about your topic of research, but having the mind to ask the right questions.