Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Meet the 2018 SVYM India GSL Team!


We invite you to get to know the 2018 India GSL Team, composed of 16 students from across Cornell University's colleges.

Delaney H., ILR ‘21

Hi! My name is Delaney, and I’m a freshmen at Cornell University from Southern California. I am in the ILR School focusing my studies towards inequality studies, law and society, and public policy. On campus, I am a Cornell tradition fellow, which is a scholarship program that recognizes 4% of the undergraduate population for their service background and work ethic. I am also involved in class councils and Cornell Political Union.

Growing up in Southern California, a city with great ethnic diversity, I’ve been fortunate to meet and befriend people from all walks of life, learning about their traditions and cultures. However, I’ve never had the chance to travel beyond North America. With my inclination for learning and passion for service, the GSL India program is perfectly suited to help me grow personally and academically.

I am interested in law and public policy surrounding access to adequate health care, educational opportunities, and economic advancement for women in India. I am so grateful for the opportunity to explore these interests through the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement and gain valuable experiences in India while learning about their beautiful culture and traditions!
Dustin L., ILR ‘19

Hi! My name is Dustin, and I am a junior in the ILR School with minors in Education, Leadership and Information Science. In the ILR School, I serve as a TA for ILROB 3730 and have participated in the ILR & Renmin University Summer Exchange. On campus, I currently serve as the Undergraduate Student Elected Trustee, but I have had many past experiences in shared governance at Cornell. I am hoping to enter a career where I can create more access points for quality education.
Joanna B., Human Ecology ‘20

Hi everyone! My name is Joanna, and I'm a sophomore Nutritional Studies major in the College of Human Ecology, currently in pursuit of the Global Health minor. While on campus, I also serve as a mentor for PATCH, work as a fitness monitor for Cornell's facilities, volunteer with GIAC and Bridges Nursing Home, and log countless miles with Running Club. When I'm back in my hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, I also lifeguard at a local recreational facility.

As a student preparing for a career in the healthcare field, I'm eager to grow as a global citizen and help serve others. I've very excited to participate in SVYM's mission and am so thankful for this opportunity to engage in service learning this coming summer!

Malikul M., ILR ‘20

Hey everyone, my name is Malikul, and I am a sophomore in the ILR school this year with minors in business and Arabic. After graduation, I hope to work with an International NGO, hopefully working in the Middle East or South East Asia, to fight human rights violations. Eventually, I hope to either work in consulting to help develop a company's corporate social responsibility efforts, or go to law school and specialize in international law. I am looking forward to working with SYVM in India this summer to create a lasting impact in a community and help the lives of others in any way I can. On campus, I am involved in ILR Student Government, Muslim Educational and Cultural Association, Students for Justice in Palestine, and the Running Club. I am extremely excited to work alongside the GSL team in India this year!

Mark M., ILR ‘20

Hi! My name is Mark, and I am a sophomore in the ILR School. I grew up in Virginia where I became an Eagle Scout and earned a Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award. I am interested in running, biking, swimming, and camping.
Nidhi D., ILR ‘20

Hi! My name is Nidhi, and I am currently a sophomore studying Industrial and Labor Relations with minors in Business and Inequality Studies. I am looking forward to seeing my ILR coursework play out in a real-world setting while making a tangible social impact on the local communities in South India.

Though I have lived in Rochester, New York my entire life, my family is originally from India and I have visited the country many times as Indian culture is a huge part of my identity. This summer, I am excited to return and give back to the country of my heritage by working with SVYM! I have always been interested in the nonprofit sector and its role in addressing global issues, such as poverty and educational inequity. Such interests in developing human capital have recently led me to consider a career in human resources management.

Outside of the classroom, my primary involvements are Cornell Bhangra dance team and Alpha Phi Omega community service fraternity. I am also an ILR peer mentor, an editor on Cornell International Affairs Review, and a facilitator for Cornell Reflect. Furthermore, I have previously worked with the ILR Institute of Compensation Studies and am currently an undergraduate research fellow on the “Men at Work (and Family)” project with the Worker Institute.


Rona Y., CALS ‘20
Hello! My name is Rona, and I am a sophomore studying Global and Public Health Sciences and minoring in Inequality Studies. I am from Boxborough, MA, in the suburbs of Boston. Last summer, I went to Kenya as the program coordinator for the Education and Social Empowerment Program. I loved immersing myself in the new culture, learning Swahili, and teaching my students as they prepared to go to American universities. This summer, I am excited to go abroad to India and learn about India's culture and healthcare system. I initially became interested in India as I worked on research with the Mehta Research Group, studying the effect of biofortified pearl millet on children in an urban slum in Mumbai, India. On campus, I have also been involved with Alternative Breaks and EARS Counseling, and serve as an undergraduate assistant for the Program in International Nutrition. I hope that my time in Mysore, India with the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement will open my eyes to different perspectives and a new culture and teach me more about working in global health. I'm very excited to see the beauty of India and work with SVYM and the Cornell GSL team!


Rui M., Human Ecology ‘20

Hello! My name is Rui, and I am a sophomore pre-med majoring in Human Development and minoring in Global and Public Health. On campus, I am a research assistant for the Memory and Neuroscience lab as well as President of Debate in Science and Health. I am also involved in the International Students Union and the Cornell Undergraduate Asia Business Society.

After taking a course in Cultural Psychology in my freshman year at Cornell, my interest in global affairs was sparked. This led me to pursue a summer internship performing research for the Culture and Self Lab in Vancouver, BC as well as participate in a week long medical brigade in Lima, Peru, this past winter. This semester, I am really looking forward to learning more about Indian culture and language in preparation for working with SVYM in the summer!
Sameer N., Human Ecology ‘19
Hi! My name is Sameer, and I am a junior in the College of Human Ecology studying Human Development with a minor in Global and Public Health. When I am not avoiding my academic responsibilities by hiding out in Libe cafe, I can be found doing research in the Canfield lab, camping out in Baker Lab, or singing with my a cappella groups, Cornell Tarana and the Class Notes. I also serves as the Vice President of Recruitment for Phi Delta Epsilon, Cornell's pre-medical fraternity. I am honored to be participating in the Global Health Service Learning Project for the upcoming summer. I am excited to go to India this summer since it's been 17 years since I went last!


Simran M., Human Ecology ‘20

My name is Simran, and I am a sophomore in the College of Human Ecology majoring in Global and Public Health Sciences.

Born to Indian immigrant parents, I have grown up in Dubai and New Jersey. In 2016, I graduated from Millburn High School with high honors and awards in Creative Writing and Music. I am a certified Emergency Medical Technician, and continue to volunteer at the Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad.

This past summer, I worked at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where I did statistical analysis for the admissions office. I am involved in various groups across Cornell's campus: I am the head of client marketing for the independent newspaper The Cornell Daily Sun, junior consultant for Social Business Consulting, an undergraduate research assistant for the Seguin Research Group, a member of Kappa Delta sorority, a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Nutritional Sciences (for NS 1600), and a Dean's List Scholar.

For now, I plan to pursue an MD/MPH with a focus on either geriatric health, maternal health or oncology. I want to practice medicine and consult for organizations like the CDC and WHO. My experiences of growing up as an expatriate, playing clarinet at rehabilitation centers and hospices, helping senior citizens with technology as well as shadowing doctors, being an EMT and working at a medical school has lead me to have a diverse perspective that I know will be valuable to the healthcare field. I know I will be able to fulfill my childhood dream of being a doctor as well as my new dream of being a global health activist.

The Global Health Summer Program in India will allow me to gain exposure and the understanding of healthcare accessibility in the indigenous and rural setting of southern India. I want to see how the health care industry can help create a sustainable model for the empowerment of local communities. I want to understand how traditional practices like Ayurveda intertwines medicine. Also, I seek to go to Mysore to become more culturally aware, to maybe trump my own misinformed perspectives I have as an Indian-American. I see this experience being a turning point in my global and public health journey—a culmination of my education at Cornell.

Stacey B., ILR ‘20

Hi there, my name is Stacey, and I am a sophomore transfer in the ILR School at Cornell. I transferred into ILR after spending my freshman year at Binghamton University (Go Bearcats!).

I am considering a minor in anthropology, but I also have a passion for journalism, a hobby that I began in high school and continues today as a writer for the Cornell Daily Sun.

Besides writing for the Sun, I work for the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management as a student writer intern. If it is not yet evident, I hope to one day find a career that allows me to pursue my love for writing, potentially on an international scale.

In my spare time, I like to run, swim and do yoga. I also like to listen to talk radio and have intellectually stimulating conversations with others.

I thought that, by traveling across the world and living for six weeks in an entirely new culture, the India Global Service Learning program would be a good personal challenge. Similar to my past travels, I think this will be an excellent opportunity for growth, as well as a learning experience for both myself and the communities that my ILR peers and I will be working with.



Talia M., Human Ecology ‘20

I'm Talia, and I'm a sophomore Global & Public Health Sciences major in the College of Human Ecology. I'm from Westchester, NY and I came to Cornell as a Global Health major, because I'm interested in population health and one day hope to be a doctor. Some of the areas of global health I am particularly interested in are maternal and child health, as well as food security. I'm looking forward to working in India this summer, because I love traveling, meeting new people, and exploring cultures different than my own. My favorite things to do are to dance, practice yoga, read, and draw. On campus, I am involved in BASE Productions dance team, Anabel's Grocery, and I am the chair of Health and Wellness of Kappa Alpha Theta.

Terrill M., ILR ‘21


Hi! My name is Terrill, and I was born and raised in Canton, MI. Currently, I am a freshman in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. My future goal is to work within the legal profession, with my beginnings focused in corporate law. Cornell is an awesome university that offers endless opportunities for any individual to expand his or her horizons. I am both thankful and honored to be chosen to take part in such a program, such as the India GSL Program. Each day, I am met with reminders of why I chose Cornell, but perhaps, what is more significant, are reminders of why I have come to love Cornell!
In addition to working hard in the classroom, I believe that it is just as important to make an impact outside of the classroom. I participate in many different extracurricular activities: Student Assembly committees, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ithaca, P3, Black Students United Black History Month committee, and the ILR ambassador program, to name a few. In fact, my presence outside of the classroom has been essential in connecting me to this program.

I want to participate in this program because it will allow me to establish a deeper understanding of the culture and functions of the world. Today, and now, more than ever, it is necessary to have a global experience and understanding because of the continued evolution of work and society. Foreign relations around the world are more tense than ever, but this program is necessary to rebuild the community of people that is the world. The world is much larger than Cornell and the United States. This program will introduce myself, and the other amazing Cornell students of the India Team, to the world that is beyond the limits of our own. This program will help me to establish a deeper base of understanding of the societies outside of those in which I exist; this experience will open my eyes to the uniqueness and beauty of the world!

Tony M., ILR ‘20


My name is Tony, and I’m excited to be a part of the Global Service Learning Program in India for 2018! As a sophomore transfer, I came to ILR to study human resource management practices in an international context. From my hometown of Queens, New York, I’ve been fortunate to experience a wide variety of cultures and make friends from all corners of the globe. During my free time, I enjoy playing and listening to music, cycling, and practicing kendo. Throughout this program, I hope to experience India’s rich culture, as well as participate and observe first-hand SVYM’s work throughout the country.
Vanessa L., ILR ‘20

Hello, my name is Vanessa, and I was born and raised in Nebraska, the center of the Midwest. I am currently a sophomore in the Industrial and Labor Relations School (ILR) with intentions of going to law school. My interests lay in the realm of peace and conflict studies, international human rights, and economic and community development. Being first generation of a family from Honduras, and frequently visiting the country, I have grown to have a deep love for third world nations. My desire is to be of service in places like my beloved Honduras. Thus, I’m really looking forward to diving deep into Indian society and culture, and learning new effective methods of impacting people around the world, as well as attaining the skills necessary to engage with global poverty. Not only do I want to gain a unique intellectual depth, but a unique depth in my mentality around less developed countries.

On campus, I am involved in an organization called the Early College Awareness, where as a team of students we visit schools to encourage and inform students of all ages to pursue higher education and develop an interest in college readiness. I am also an ILR ambassador, which is a group of student volunteers that host and inform prospective students in joining the ILR family.

Wyndham E., ILR ‘20

Hello! My name is Wyndham. I am from Virginia Beach, Virginia and am currently a sophomore in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. On campus, I am heavily involved in Cornell University Mock Trial Association and am serving as the tournament director for the organization this year. As a Hunter Rawlings III Presidential Research Scholar, I have also engaged in undergraduate research regarding voting policy and voter fraud in America these past three semesters. Before class, I love serving up lattes and cappuccinos as a barista a Libe Café.

When I was initially admitted into the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, my interests were focused on social justice and reducing socioeconomic inequality more generally. However, my time at Cornell as an ILR major have led me to become passionate about social justice as it relates to workers specifically. I firmly believe in the idea that in order to have a stable society, everyone needs to have access to a job that provides safety, security, and a livelihood. Employment issues are the root to so many of the other social problems that plague our society.

With that being said, what sparked my interest in the GSL program was its focus on disability studies. After working as a nanny for a special needs child for five years, ensuring that the needs of those with disabilities are met and their potential understood is something I am extraordinarily passionate about. This summer, I look forward to learning more about Indian culture and the impact the SVYM has in the community, especially for those with disabilities.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Autumn F. BSILR'19: Palliative Care Program

During the Summer of 2017, I was fortunate to participate in the ILR Global Service Learning (GSL) Program in India. For six weeks, I learned of India’s culture, economy, and history from esteemed Indian academics, and executed a project for the world-renowned non-profit human development organization, the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM).
I was tasked with analyzing the current revenue-generation system of SVYM’s Palliative Care Program and providing actionable, implementable recommendations to improve it. My final deliverable included a report of my observations, research, analysis, and recommendations, in addition to several marketing materials such as posters and social media posts to be utilized to enhance Program branding. The GSL Program in India pushed me to engage with the world beyond the classroom. My participation in classes and a service project allowed me to practice intercultural competence, gain experience that applied my studies in a real-world context, and execute a project that was pivotal to the continued success of SVYM’s impactful humanitarian efforts. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this meaningful program.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Nikki J. GH'18: Sneha Kiran Spastic Society

SVYM has a great partnership with Sneha Kiran of the Mysore Spastic Society, which is a comprehensive school with rehabilitation services for those with Cerebral Palsy (CP). While the school was started by parents of children with Cerebral Palsy, they now have both children and adults enrolled. Most of them have CP, but there are also some with other special needs that keep them from schools with able-bodied children. Sneha Kiran is a place where the doors are open to anyone, and it is filled with some of the most compassionate and hardworking people I have ever had the pleasure to meet in my entire life. During my six weeks there, I examined the emotional intelligence and social quotient of children with CP through a set of informal assessments and activities, as well as volunteered in the classrooms wherever I was needed. Often an overlooked part of treating CP patients, the emotions and social skills that we possess as able-bodied/able-minded individuals are not always as easily grasped by those with CP. This makes it an even more important area to research and move forward in.
            While I tried to be as prepared as I could possibly be before leaving for India, there was nothing that could have completely readied me for everything I would experience. Volunteering at Sneha Kiran was the first time in my life where I woke up every day excited to go to work and came home at the end of the day feeling exhausted but wholly fulfilled. Everyone at that school truly wants to be there. It was amazing to watch the able-bodied children push those in wheelchairs around between classes, and those who could communicate verbally speak for those who could not. I learned more about love and joy during my two months in India than I have in my twenty-two years or so of life.
            I also had incredible experiences outside of Sneha Kiran, a few notable ones being when we visited a primary health center and got to visit the GH students at Kenchenahalli for a weekend. I will be forever grateful to SVYM, Sneha Kiran, and the Cornell Global Health Program for this life-changing summer, and I absolutely encourage all Global Health and pre-medical students to engage in this experience or one like it. There are some things that you will never truly grasp about a culture so different from your own unless you are able to see it with your own eyes. The people in Mysore will stay with me forever no matter where I am, and I will never stop being grateful for everything I learned in those eight short weeks.

Working on my project at Sneha Kiran Spastic Society!
                                      

Monday, August 14, 2017

Irene L. GH'18: Vivekananda Memorial Hospital

This summer, I was privileged to be able to work and study with SVYM through the India Global Service learning program. The first two weeks were spent in Mysore, taking classes with Indian professors about a variety of subjects such as caste, Indian literature and the Indian Healthcare system. It enjoyed these two weeks incredibly because I had a chance to adjust to my surroundings, bond with my cohort and prepare myself for the next six project weeks.
After the two weeks concluded, I had the privilege of working on a maternity healthcare project in Vivekananda Memorial Hospital, located in Saragur. First, I identified trends in maternal delivery data. I found that there were more home deliveries in the tribal villages that SVYM serves than there are in Karnataka.Next, I analyzed cases of home deliveries and created a home delivery survey. I characterized women who delivered at home by site, month of delivery and other demographic factors and compared it with data from all deliveries. My mentor, Dr. Manohar, and I then made a survey to be given out to women who had delivered at home. The surveys were implemented in two villages. Finally, I wrote a paper on the characteristics of home deliveries from 2013-2017. We found that women who had delivered at home had a higher gravidity and a greater number of living children than women who delivered at an institution. This project period allowed me to gain a better understanding of the role of NGOs in development and the holistic nature of the work that SVYM does. It also gave me insight on the day-to-day work of community health leaders, a role that I hope to play in my career.
During my field experience, I was able to see that intercultural competency is critical in working in an international setting. Global Health courses at Cornell stress the cultural intricacies that affect intervention delivery, but I found that intercultural competency, humility and respect also affects the way that we work with local organizations and healthcare professionals. I definitely learned to focus more on the process, rather than just the outcome. I was so lucky to have participated in this program and really hope that I will be able to go back and visit SVYM in the future!

The Mobile Health Unit used for community Health Work

With one the mentors, Dr. Padmaja, an ob-gyn!