Sydney Avitia-Jacques.

Environmental Health Strategy Center - Portland, ME

Project Description

Alumni Council Internship Fund Recipient

Since my first year at Bowdoin, my classes in sociology and work for Peer Health have sparked my deepening interest in the social roots of health inequities. This semester, I am on an International Honors Program that compares health and community structures in the US, Vietnam, South Africa, and Argentina. I am learning firsthand how environmental conditions such as pesticide regulations and food security are linked to history, politics, and economic relationships at home and abroad. I strongly believe in a definition of health that does not separate people and their illnesses from the environments in which they live. I want to work for the Environmental Health Strategy Center because their initiatives treat human and environmental health as allied issues.

I was initially most drawn to EHSC because of the breadth of initiatives included in their definition of health. They have campaigns for chemical policy reform, transforming the marketplace, and building a bio-based economy, all of which relate to the wellbeing of Mainers. My study abroad experience has connected my conception of health to these larger topics, and I want to continue learning about how they are intertwined. Most importantly, working with EHSC will teach me how to craft campaigns that work to solve multiple issues simultaneously. In my future public health pursuits, I want to connect health issues that are specific to local communities with broader political, economic, and environmental forces.

I am inspired by EHSC’s locally based approach to globally complicated health issues, and look forward to further developing my ability to work with communities on improving wellbeing. My outreach background from Peer Health and recruiting for the McKeen Center will bring energy, interpersonal skills, and advertising experience. The additional grassroots organizing, fundraising, and policy knowledge that I will gain from working with EHCS will be important steps for me towards a future in public health. I want to focus on direct service for communities whose wellbeing is negatively affected by socioeconomic disparities, and the political advocacy experience of EHSC as an organization is a key part of that work to which I have never been exposed.

My outreach and research experience, and my passion for spreading awareness about the social roots of health disparities, fit EHSC’s holistic approach to achieving wellbeing for both people and their environment. I look forward to gaining the experience in multifaceted health initiatives and political advocacy that will direct me in future community-based health work. I am honored to have received this internship, and grateful for the opportunity to receive the funding necessary for me to make the most of it.

Project Details

  • Date October 18, 2017
  • Tags 2017, Alumni Council, Environment, Junior, USA

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