“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao-Tzu

8, 795 miles to be exact.

For this year’s GROW team, that significant single step occurred months ago when we met as a team for the very first time. In spite of the fact that the meeting was held via a Google Hangout, albeit one of the more successful ones (they never seem to go as smoothly as you would like them to), having the chance to finally see each other not just as fellow chapter members, but as GROW teammates who we would be living and working together with for two whole months in Cambodia was a wonderful stride forward. Since then, a few of us have attended the GROW Institute in Chicago and we’ve held weekly Monday GROW meetings generally consisting of working on different tutorials and workshops, finalizing trip logistics, and discussing biweekly staff meeting contributions. Moments of team bonding are often peppered in throughout the roughly 1 1/2-hour-long sessions.

GROW Institute came and went in the form of an informative and inspirational 2-day long workshop near the end of February. Although the weekend did make me slightly more nervous at first in terms of planning for the trip and making sure everything was as productive as can be (who knew that M&E could be such an intense topic??), spending two days attending the different sessions ranging from how to use and create media effectively to learning about safety and security abroad quickly brushed the apprehensiveness aside. Not to mention it was a wonderful experience to be able to meet so many people who were just as passionate and as excited as we were, and to bond with those who also had partner organizations in the same country.

Although that weekend in February was resourceful for me and the two other members who went, Dan and Aasim, our weekly GROW Meetings along with our own individual preparations have been even more so. While we’ve been working on a number of topics ranging from grant writing to ESL, and planning the different media tools we’ll need to utilize during the trip, our main focus this year is on a health education tool kit that the ghU and GROW teams are working on together in collaboration with Mr. Chanthan, the Executive Director of CSSD. Implementation of this tool kit, which will cover  the topics of menstruation, homeopathic care, hygiene, and contraceptives, will occur during the first few weeks of the internship and so we’ve been hard at work figuring out the most effective way to get the information across, getting answers from Mr. Chanthan about any questions we have, and convening during staff meetings to discuss any new updates.

Everything culminated in the form of this past week where we not only embarked on the first of five Khmer lessons (with the help of last year’s GROW Coordinator, Gabby Slomicz!), but we had our first group Skype call with Mr. Chanthan during the meeting on March 31.  While we were able to finalize a few more points concerning the health tool kit, I have to say that there was a lot of excitement since it was his first time seeing the other four people who would be going on GROW. Later that week on Thursday, both ghU and GROW met with one of TT’s professors, Professor Amaya-Fernandez, who was kind enough to meet with us and also give us a few pointers and books on what she had found to be effective when creating health education modules.

GROW has been an ongoing process since last year but I have to say that it wasn’t until recently that I’ve begun to realize how everything we’ve been working on up till now will soon become very very real. I guess those days we spent filling out various forms, buying our plane tickets, and figuring out vaccinations and insurance policies just don’t hold a candle to the feeling you get as you move closer and closer to finalizing tangible preparations in the form of tutorials and tool kits. And despite the fact that I know things will change and I’ll definitely have to stay flexible, I can begin to see the foundation that we’ve been laying down start to take shape and I can see what will come out of all of our combined dedication, passion, and hard work as a chapter and as a partner.

On that note, please check out our blog posts as we move closer and closer to May 26 (we’ll be arriving in Phnom Penh on the 28th!) to stay connected with our GROW preparations and eventually, our GROW trip itself!

With GlobeMed Love,

Karen

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Meet the Team: Joanna!

 

964101_4818210216671_1799791740_o-2Hey everyone! My name is Joanna Dominguez and I am a graduating senior at the Rutgers College of Nursing. My other major is in Journalism & Media Studies (kind of the opposite of nursing, I know!), but both my majors will definitely help a lot this summer, as I will be in charge of the implementation of the Health Education ToolKit with TT, the media photography/video with Dan, as well as the website maintenance with Aasim. I cannot wait for the internship this summer, as I feel like I’ve been preparing for it my entire college career!

I have been involved with GlobeMed for two years now, acting as the graphic design maven of sorts for a lot of our communications/event marketing. When I’m not busy with school or GlobeMed, my favorite pastimes include immersing myself in ethnic fiction and poetry, crafting and revising my own oeuvre, and going on foodie adventures with my friends. As for any hidden talents, I have a fairly non-discriminant photographic memory, which helps a lot during exams and the occasional travels. And if you count being a “genius, billionaire, playgirl (okay, maybe not), philanthropist” as a collective superpower, à la Tony Stark, I’d like to be that. You can call me Iron Girl.

Meet the Team: Dan!

2.2Hi, everyone! My name is Juan Daniel Torres, but most people call me Dan. I’m currently a sophomore and plan on graduating May 2016. A recent change of my career path has left me with an undecided major, although I plan to graduate with either an Anthropology or Public Health major.

When I’m not studying for classes or working on GlobeMed projects, I usually shut my brain off by going for a run or watching Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan era rom coms while eating Pan-Asian food. I don’t like to admit I’m a big TV watcher, but I have a soft spot for Game of Thrones, Suits, How I Met Your Mother, Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Arrested Development (not too many, right?… right?). Don’t get me wrong, though, I also love reading. I’m the type of person who doesn’t usually talk unless I know what I’m talking about. Therefore, I’m usually reading research papers or case studies that interest me and that are currently present in global discussions.

 During my time with GlobeMed, I worked on a benefit concert Spring 2013, I managed Global Getdown, a multicultural dance competition for on-campus dance troupes, Fall 2013, I will be managing the ActiveU Gala, a gala-styled benefit dinner with influential speakers, Spring 2014, and I am on the GROW team this year! I’m extremely excited and thankful to be a part of this year’s GROW team and look forward to contribute all my energy and knowledge to make sure we leave Cambodia reaching all our goals, as well as learning more about our partner to bring back to our campus.
I have few hidden talents, but it’s quality not quantity, right? Besides baking a killer gourmet bread (killer because it’s so good), I also take pictures, have a higher than average memory, and can drive manual. Although most people outside the US wouldn’t consider driving manual a talent, many are surprised I drive manual when they get in my car. If I could have any superpower, it would probably be replication. I often have to tell myself that I can’t be everywhere at once because there are so many issues I want to research and tackle. If there were more of me, however, I could be everywhere at once. I wouldn’t have to limit myself within a few fields to study. Instead, I would be able to address multiple issues in multiple fields without compromising my time.

Meet the Team: TT!

179467_643636295649809_180812133_nHello! I’m Thobekile and I am a junior at Rutgers University majoring in Public Health and minoring in Biology. I enjoy laughing, eating, reading and yoga. I have been involved with GlobeMed for two years. During my first year as a member, I was involved with the campaign team and planned events like our annual ActiveU Gala and Global Getdown.  Currently, I am a member of the executive board as the Director of Community Building – External. While on GROW, I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the Cambodian culture and learning from the CSSD employees by exchanging knowledge and sharing my passion for health disparities. Working with CSSD will be my first opportunity to have hands on experience in global health and I am very excited to submerse myself in the experience. If I could have any superpower it would be the ability to be fluent in every    language without having to learn them.

Meet the Team: Karen!

2.jpgHi! I’m Karen, and I’ll be this year’s GROW Coordinator. I’m a senior, so I’ll be graduating in May this year with a major in Biological Sciences and two minors in Economics and Public Health. For the past two years in GlobeMed, I’ve been the Director of Communications so the GROW Coordinator position is a change of page from what I used to do! While I can’t wait to experience all aspects of the GROW internship, I’m looking forward to implementing the new health education component of our project with CSSD as well as learning from each other and strengthening our relationship!

A few more things about me: I love reading, traveling, anything food related (especially any cooking competition TV shows), museums, and ancient history. As for any hidden talents, I used to play the piano for 13 years. And if I could have any superpower, it would have to be time travel.

Meet the Team: Aasim!

growpictureHey my name is Aasim Chaudhry. I’m currently a sophomore at Rutgers University, class of 2016. My academic interests lie in a mix of Biology, Computer Science, and Public Health. In my free time I like to practice photography, read books that enrich my connection with life or broaden my perspectives, hit the gym for powerlifting, cruise down long stretches of road on sunny days with my longboard, or just listen to some alternative/indie/rock/orchestrated/movie soundtrack music. During my time with GlobeMed, I’ve served as a general member who worked on organizing a benefit concert, designed campaign advertisements for the communications team, and now I’m working under the public relations division and in our finances department. What I’m really looking forward to during the GROW internship this summer is the chance to make some new friends in Cambodia who share the same passion of improving both public health and the overall well-being of humanity. I guess my GROW profile wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention a superpower I’d like to have so for now I would definitely go with ability to fly. The possibilities flying could bring into my life are endless. I could be like Superman and carry people away from danger and into safety. And I guess I could save my friends on the GROW team from having to buy plane tickets to Cambodia by flying them there one by one in my arms like a superhero.

The 2014 GROW Team!

Hi everyone and welcome to the start of the 2014 GROW Trip blog posts! Over the next two weeks, you’ll get to learn a bit more about the 5 GROW team members: Thobekile (TT), Aasim, Dan, Joanna, and myself. We’ll be posting little snippets about our graduating year, our major/minors, our roles in GlobeMed, and what we’re looking forward to on GROW as well as fun tidbits about our hobbies, any hidden talents we have, and what superpower we would each like to have. In the months leading up to the internship, we’ll each be posting about what we’re doing to prepare for GROW since all of us are covering different areas. And finally, we’ll be keeping everyone updated during the trip itself so stay tuned!

– Karen, GROW Coordinator