Introducing Myself

My name is Elissa Bell, I am from Melbourne, FL, and I am a double major in Biology and Computational Science. This summer, I will be volunteering for 11 weeks in Cusco, Peru with an organization called Casa Mantay. This organization houses teen mothers and their children as a way to help them properly care for themselves and their families and gain independence once they leave the home. I will be helping the established staff carry out the workshops they do with the mothers, I will help the mothers and kids with their school work and help with the development of their creative skills through art and dance. This experience will allow me to explore an established effort to support teen mothers in order to help them become the best mothers they can be regardless of their circumstances. I am interested in public health, and I will be looking at social determinants of health and health disparities among this population at Casa Mantay. Since I will be living in a new country for almost three months, I think this experience will be challenging but it will help me grow as a person. I hope to gain more confidence in my Spanish skills throughout my experience as this will be necessary to communicate with the mothers and children. I am unsure of how I will navigate my dietary restrictions since I am a vegetarian, so I will most likely have to cook most of my meals, which I am both nervous and excited about.

The photo I chose is from when I was visiting my brother in Baltimore in the fall when the leaves were changing color. I was so excited because this was the first time I had seen the fall season up North. I am currently very excited to go to Peru because I have never been to this country before.

Published by Warren Oliver

CRE Associate Director for Global Programming

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