Here at Her Impact, we have met a lot of Wake Forest students who have implemented what they have learned in the classroom into their work in the Winston-Salem community. But junior Kaitlyn Hudgins took what she has learned all the way to Dubai!
Picture this: 3,500 applicants, 750 paper submissions and 6,000 attendees at the “Education Without Borders” conference, a biennial gathering of students from around the world aiming to discuss innovative solutions to some of our world's greatest challenges. Pretty impressive numbers, considering Kaitlyn was one of only 36 people chosen to present their innovative proposals to the fellow participants!
It all started after Kaitlyn studied abroad in South Africa. While there, Kaitlyn worked with HIV community support groups and learned about the high amount of HIV-infected people who actually die from HIV’s co-infection, tuberculosis. These startling facts inspired Kaitlyn to create an ambitious proposal, an “implementation of tuberculosis treatment support programs – a culturally conscious approach.”
In her proposal, Kaitlyn advocates the use of a culturally conscious approach to developing TB education and treatment centers within already-existing HIV clinics.
“We would work with the director of the NGO in assessing their individual needs for that region and what are potential cultural barriers in relation to health practices, thus creating more complete and relevant educational material for the community in which they serve,” says Kaitlyn.
She informs us that a problem with existing NGO’s is that they are not culturally sensitive. Thus, they have a harder time aiding members of the community.
Kaitlyn then took her idea to the up-and-coming global capital of Dubai, a city she describes as “very lavish and modern.” She was invited to the spectacular Emirates Palace, where she was welcomed with a fireworks display on an unfathomably grandiose scale. She tells us, “the stress of the opening ceremony was pointing out the importance of 131 nationalities being represented sitting next to each other and listening to what one another has to say . . . Admittedly, tears were streaming down my face as they continued to talk about the significance of such a coming together.”
Once at the conference, Kaitlyn met people from across the globe, including two CNN heroes and a 13-year-old published author! CNN legend Evan Wadongo bestowed some powerful advice to the participants, "Education isn't about what you know, education is about what you DO."
Kaitlyn took his words to heart. She explains, “I don't have to just work for a nonprofit to help children in Africa or work for the government to change policies.”
Kaitlyn’s amazing accomplishments are true embodiments of extending the pro-humanitate motto across borders. Advice from such a globally conscious collegiette™?
“Get out of your comfort zone, and really just put yourself out there because it truly is eye-opening and life changing!” How then can you get out of your comfort zone today, collegiettes™?