A History of Our Volunteers
Curamericas Global has had a number of volunteers and interns who help our programs run smoothly, and we appreciate all of their hard work over the years! Read below about what some of our former and current volunteers and interns are up to now. If you are interested in being featured on this page, please let us know. We would love to feature you and your accomplishments and will be updating the page regularly!
The Curamericas Global community does amazing work and we are proud of their accomplishments. Thank you to all of our current and past volunteers and interns!
Nick Toombs is currently a junior at UNC Chapel Hill, where he is majoring in Economics. He comes from a very small, close knit family. His heart to serve people living in terrible conditions around the world fueled his desire for nonprofit work. During his time in community college, he started a club which helped students and citizens in the community increase their financial literacy skills. He has also been involved in various clean up and community garden projects in Rochester, NY. He was drawn to Curamericas Global because of the organization’s ability to make an immediate and long-lasting impact on the most vulnerable populations around the world. He will act as the Business Development Intern while at Curamericas Global. He hopes to travel abroad with a Curamericas team, and assist in the life-changing work of Curamericas Global.
Garrett Farringer (Intern, Fall 2019)
Garrett Farringer, 28, is currently a graduate student at George Washington University where he is pursuing a master’s degree in public health. He has always had a strong desire to help people. Garrett’s work in primary care offices exposed him to the inequities in health care. His desire is to impact children by improving their health by providing access to modern medicine. The programs at GWU pushed him towards a career that combats maternal and child mortality in vulnerable communities around the world. Because of this, he pursued an internship with Curamericas Global. He is the Operations and Digital Intern for the organization, and hopes to assist in Curamericas Global’s mission to educate and improve the health of mothers and children around the world.
Holly Pittman, 21, is currently a senior at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with minors in Entrepreneurship, Marketing, and Human Resources. She credits her passion for nonprofit work to her involvement with the Wounded Warriors Project and SPCA of Person County. She was drawn to Curamericas Global because of their dedication to empowering women through providing them access to healthcare. Her time at an all-women’s college has led her to believe that empowering women is a crucial aspect for a society to thrive. Holly currently serves as the Data Analytics Intern at Curamericas Global. She will be responsible for interpreting trends in data sets and appropriately communicating this information with supporters.
Annamaria Sirugo (Intern, Fall 2019)
Annamaria Sirugo, 29, is currently a a student in graduate school in the Maternal Child Health MPH program at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is the oldest of six children in her family. She previously worked for four years in an education nonprofit that helped to improve literacy and graduation rates in Title I schools. Her experience here, and her participation in volunteer work at a young age, fueled her desire to participate in nonprofit work. She was drawn to Curamericas Global because “their work focuses on maternal health and specifically reducing maternal mortality rates.” Within the organization she serves as the Curriculum intern, and supports the Care Group curriculum development team. The lessons she helps develop equip women to best care for their health and the health of their children.
Daniel Mann (Intern, Fall 2019)
Daniel Mann, 22, is currently a senior at UNC Chapel Hill with a double major in Political Science and Economics and a minor in Religious Studies. From Houston, Texas, Daniel comes from a large family and has an identical twin brother who attends the University of Texas. Currently, Daniel serves as the Operations Intern at Curamericas Global. In addition, he’s involved in multiple organizations including Camp Kesem and Refugee Community Partnership. This past summer, Daniel worked for the US Treasury Department, where he incorporated his ambition for economics with his focus on global relations within the International Affairs division. He hopes to attend law school and concentrate in International and Comparative Law, as well as Human Rights Law. His passion for non-profit work manifests itself from working with non-profit groups through high school in inner-city Houston. This work focused on the education of under served children. During his time at UNC, Daniel has been involved in political science research, which as translated to performing data analysis and observation in an applicable setting like Curamericas with their data-driven approach. In the future, Daniel aims to incorporate his knowledge in the legal realm of international governments with his practical experience working for NGOs in hopes of bringing sustainable social and economic improvements to developing countries.
Briana Winham (Intern, Fall 2019)
Briana Winham, 20, is currently in school at UNC Chapel Hill and will graduate in May 2020 with adouble major in Public Policy and History. She plans to go to law school in the future. Briana comes from an extremely close-knit family in Rocky Mount, NC. Her mom is a health care professional, who deals with quality and performance improvement at UNC Nash Health Care. Her dad is a retired public school teacher who now enjoys coaching cross country and swimming. In addition, she has younger brother who is currently a high school freshman at Rocky Mount Academy. Along with being a college student and intern at Curamericas Global, Briana also teaches swim lessons at the Harrison Family YMCA to people of all ages. Her passion for nonprofit work stems from her time as an intern with the North Carolina General Assembly and Batts, Batts, and Bell Law Office. Briana learned that people often turn to the government for help to meet their smallest needs; however, the representatives are one piece in a much larger puzzle, and this restricts their ability to enact change. She witnessed their voices, and the voices of the most vulnerable become lost in politics. These experiences helped her understand that people often need nonprofits and mission-based organizations to meet their physical needs before the law attempts to fix larger problems. She serves as the Business Development intern within Curamericas Global.
Krista Odom (Intern, Fall 2019)
Krista Odom, 31, is currently a graduate student at the Duke Global Health Institute. She studies global mental health and her research focuses on provider care competency and attitudes towards mental health and people living with mental illnesses. Krista is a middle child with two brothers. Krista recently got married and her husband continues to live in Ethiopia. She is looking forward to when he can join her in the US. Her passion for nonprofit work began during undergrad. She realized immediately that she wanted to be a clinical psychologist and have her own practice. Having studied abroad in the Middle East, she found a passion for working with under-served communities. She still wants to purse a career as a clinical psychologist, but her scope has changed from individuals to communities in low and middle income countries. Her past volunteer work includes being a member of the Peace Corps in Ethiopia. She served as a health volunteer working in a village health center and with NGOs in large cities on regional level health projects. She also worked in the United States at Face to Face, an HIV testing, education, and outreach NGO focusing on mean who have sex with men in Sonoma County. Her at Curamericas Global, Krista uses her talents to focus on grant writing for the organization.
Frieda Kehler (Volunteer, Fall 2019)
Frieda Kehler, 54, is the sole proprietor of a foot care business specializing in at-risk clients-those with diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and those who are immune-suppressed or immune-compromised because of medication, age, or illness. Growing up, she obtained a Bachelor’s of Science with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry and French. She also obtained a Bachelor’s of Education. Prior to moving to Raleigh in 2018, Frieda and her husband lived in Mississauga, Ontario. They have two young adult children, Neil (25) and Taya (23). Frieda says her passion for nonprofit work and desire to volunteer started when she was in junior high school. During this time in her life, there were many opportunities for Frieda to become involved in school and community activities, and the church her family attended also promoted and supported nonprofit work. After leaving home and moving to the city for school, Frieda attended a Mennonite Church, which exposed her to the work of Mennonite Central Committee-a global, nonprofit organization that strives the share God’s love and compassion for all through relief. Years later, Frieda found herself making school kits and delivering them to a local Ten Thousand Villages store. She soon became a regular volunteer at the store, quickly become the Assistant Store Manager and late Store Manager. Within Curamericas Global, Frieda serves as a regular volunteer with a focus on the Ventanilla at the Guatemalan Consulate here in Raleigh.
Rebecca Pallant, 22, is an undergraduate senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she major in Global Studies and double minors in Medical Anthropology and Social and Economic Justice. Rebecca’s global travels started at a young age. Born in London, Rebecca lived there for 10 years before moving to São Paulo, Brazil, where she became fluent in Brazilian Portuguese. Years later, her family moved to New York where she finished out her high school career. Within Curamericas Global, Rebecca serves as the Events and Outreach Intern, the perfect liaison between global health and the nonprofit sector. Rebecca credits her passion for nonprofit work and her desire to help other to her exposure to the struggles people face due to inadequate resources and education. Throughout her internship, Rebecca hopes to have a great impact on the organization by organizing fundraisers and events.
“I am from Raleigh and am a rising junior at Fordham University in New York City. I am double majoring in Sociology and Anthropology and hope to become more involved in humanitarian aid in my future. From my internship with Curamericas, I hope to achieve the knowledge of how a successful nonprofit organization functions when not out in the partnering communities. More specifically, become aware of the required skills to organize each aspect of the nonprofit into a complete finished product. In addition, I hope to achieve the techniques of informing and educating others about Curamericas Global, so they too can join the movement to create sustainable long-term partnerships with the communities you help.”
Layne Stephens (Intern, Summer 2019)
“My name is Layne Stephens and I am a rising senior at North Carolina State University. I am majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing and a minor in Psychology. This summer I am excited to be serving as Curamericas’ Digital Marketing Intern. With this internship I hope to gain experience in the field of marketing and learn more about public health.”
“I am from Durham, NC. I am a sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill who intends on applying to the UNC Gillings Schoolof Global Public Health BSPH program in Health Policy and Management in the fall. I am also pursuing a minor in Women and Gender Studies. I aspire to improve the health outcomes and reduce child and maternal mortality rates in countries, like my home country of Liberia, where women and children die every day from preventable diseases and maternal complications. I was drawn to Curamericas Global because of their commitment to helping underserved women and children through prevention, health education and community building. As an Administrative and Outreach Intern, I will be focusing on donor stewardship, office management, and event planning.”
“My name is Alexa Asher and I will be an Events and Outreach Intern for Summer 2019. I have formally graduated from Appalachian State University. My major was public health and I was minoring in entrepreneurial studies.
I found an interest in this internship from a previous intern. She spoke very highly about her experience at Curamericas and recommended it to me. I have an interest in making an impact within communities and individuals lives. I’ve never worked with a non-profit but I look forward to experiencing a new line of work here at Curamericas. Being a former student athlete, I love collaborating with others as a team so I do look forward to working with everyone here at Curamericas. I have a passion for traveling so the work Curamericas provides in different communities is at a huge interest to me.”
“I am a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill studying political science and peace, war and defense with a concentration in international studies and intelligence. I grew up around Charlotte, NC. I am so excited to be working with Curamericas, as the mission of this nonprofit is something that I believe is of upmost importance. I’m hoping to gain some experience in the non-profit realm to help push me to make a definite decision on what I want to do after college.”
“I just finished my third year at N.C. State University, where I am earning bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and International Studies, and minors in Spanish and Nonprofit Studies. I was drawn to Curamericas Global because of their commitment to sustainable development in unreached areas and their respect for local cultural values. I aspire to work in the nonprofit sector so that I may have a role in supporting under served communities around the world. My interests are in community development, family stability, and cross-cultural interactions. As an Events and Outreach intern for the summer, I will be planning future fundraising events and growing Curamerica’s support base.”
Casey Abernethy (Intern, Summer 2019)
“My name is Casey Abernethy, and I am a rising senior at Cary Academy High School. In order to complete my junior year I needed to intern with a company. However, I was really interested in interning with a non-profit or a company that encourages women empowerment – with Curamericas I got both. Although I am only interning for a short period of time, I can definitely say I’ve learned a lot and I’m happy to be here.”
“I am a junior at Cary Academy. I am passionate about social justice issues especially for underrepresented women and people of color and decided to pursue an internship with Curamericas to gain the experience of working with social issues from a global health perspective. I plan to attend college and pursue a career in International Diplomacy and Chinese, with a possible minor in Cultural Studies. I hope to help look at and solve international issues using a diplomatic lens.”
“Since 2010, I’ve been going on mission trips to the Costa Rican city of Alajuela. I’ve gone six times since. We partner with a mission there that creates children’s feeding programs and works on construction operations in the community. In 2013 I took my dance school to Costa Rica and we started a local-operated dance school in Alajuela. Now local teachers are making a living sharing their cultural history of dance with new generations. We go back regularly and provide dance shoes and clothing so that more locals can get involved in their nation’s rich history of dance. Because of those experiences in Costa Rica I found Curamericas to be a natural fit. At the end of the day, it’s focusing on the same things that always drove me to volunteer in Latin American countries before; empathizing with a community and listening to their their needs. I’m looking forward to joining Curamericas on one of their upcoming trips to Guatemala in the near future!”
“I grew up both in California and Guatemala. I spent most of my teenage years studying in Guatemala while living with my grandparents. A lot of people I talk to here in the States don’t know where Guatemala is, so I was really surprised to see that there was an organization here in Raleigh that works with remote communities in Guatemala. I told my grandparents who still live in Guatemala that I was working here to benefit Guatemalan communities and they got very emotional. They were so happy that I was connecting with my culture even from all the way over here in Raleigh. They never expected that I’d be giving back to Guatemala the way I am with Curamericas. In the future, I’d like to pursue a PhD in medical anthropology or archaeology of the South Pacific. I want to explore the links between various different cultures in the South Pacific”.
Alex Johnson (Intern, Spring 2018)
“My time at Curamericas was fantastic! I was able to apply what I had spent the last several years learning about in school to practical, international, development. I will be finishing my graduate schooling in international development in a handful of weeks and am looking forward to a career in the international development field. My particular interests revolve around cryptocurrencies, the dark web, and illicit markets, and their relationship with development.”
“I’ve been part of a clogging group since I was in seventh grade. We traveled around the world clogging and I became accustomed to interacting with people from other countries. When I went to college I wanted to continue traveling. I studied abroad in both Peru and Argentina and became enthralled with Latin American culture. In college, I also learned about international development and how sustainable, community-based, development works, and I wanted to see it in practice. Curamericas seemed like a natural fit. Right now, I’m working on an analysis of evidence-based best practices in Guatemalan project sites to help determine what practices can be improved. I’m gaining experience that I can use to pursue my goal of attaining a master’s degree in public health. I’m seeing the practical effects of community-based development here with Curamericas. I’m seeing the successes of it, I’m learning more and more about it, and I’m learning how I can add to that practical change going forward. I’m looking forward to pursuing a graduate degree in Public Health in the near future.”
“I find that as long as I’m working to make communities more efficient, connective and well-rounded I’m doing work that I enjoy. When doing research on where I wanted to intern, I came across Curamericas and was impressed with how connected, responsive, and integrated they were with the communities that they work with. I’m enjoying the fact that I help represent and spread news about Curamericas within my own community; North Carolina State University. Whether I’m working on spreading the word about Curamericas’ events or helping to spread awareness of Curamericas online, I feel like my time here is well spent. I’m actually considering creating a student-led Curamericas club on NC State’s campus so that I can continue growing Curamericas’ community presence here! “
“As Campus Integration Intern, I was able to learn about how to create, share, and execute a message to a large audience. I’m looking forward to taking my skills that I’ve learned here at Curamericas to a career in marketing. I’d love to get involved in a Curamericas trip sometime in the future!”
“Curamericas helped teach me valuable skills in management and volunteer coordination such as when I helped to establish a Curamericas volunteer service at the Guatemalan Consulate here in Raleigh. I also worked on the Mother-Daughter Tea that was a big success! I’m looking into joining the Peace Corps after I earn my Bachelor’s!”
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/biancamac/
“I was drawn to Curamericas because of its melding of public health and social work. My time here at Curamericas allowed for me to gain more experience in community health and research. I worked on analyzing and reporting on our research and data that had been collected from our project sites in Kibera, Kenya and was really proud of the results of that analysis! My future plans involve finding a career that allows for me to explore the power of conversation and dialogue, more specifically literature and how it acts as a channel for conversation and dialogue and social justice.”
“I worked on a grant that was being made for our Guatemalan project site. I also did some operations research for the site that I hope will maximize the success of our program there! I’m looking forward to hopefully going to Guatemala with Curamericas and working there as well!”
“I’m back in India working on a business venture while I wait for an opportunity to do global health work in low-resource settings. My immediate aspiration is to work on health policy and maternal and child health issues in Africa. Curamericas’ commitment to working in forgotten communities in Latin America and Africa is inspirational and I hope it serves as a model for nonprofits looking to work on maternal and child health issues in resource-poor settings.
During my time there, I learned that long-term partnerships with underserved communities are essential to improving their health outcomes. In addition, I discovered the importance of getting the little things right. Finding that one extra study as a reference in a literature review for a grant application or making that one additional phone call to raise funds for Curamericas’ projects could make a difference to someone’s life in another country. I was proud to have worked on literature reviews for grant applications and contributed to fact sheets for some of Curamericas’ projects, including a blog on the Kuimei Project that I had the opportunity to write. I was also incredibly proud to have worked on Hops for Hope. I wish I could do it all over again!”
Sarah Clark (Intern, Summer 2017)
“Right now I am finishing my Masters degree at North Carolina State University where I am studying International Studies. After I graduate in May, I hope to find a job in the international development field. I wish more people knew about the great work Curamericas does on a daily basis. I think the most important thing is that Curamericas works on a community level to make sure that the services they provide actually match what the community needs and wants. That way, fewer resources are wasted due to miscommunication. I learned so much that I can hardly summarize everything. I now know that I am interested in helping people and making the world a better place, more so than I did before. And I learned that there are no one-size fits all solution to the world’s problems. Each community needs a specialized approach, which is something Curamericas provides. Everything I worked on, even the most mundane tasks, provided me with a feeling of accomplishment. I am particularly proud of the work that I did with planning fundraising evenings and with the 4th Annual Hops for Hope event. I learned so much about myself and really solidified what I want to work on in the future.”
Nat Mansfield (Spring 2017)
“Currently, I am working at the North Carolina General Assembly as a Bill Processor in the Legislative Drafting Division. It’s fun work, but I am hoping to, career wise, be doing more internationally focused work in the future. When I was an intern, I learned how motivating it can be knowing that work you put forth helps keep the wheels turning on an organization that has such a positive impact on others. Furthermore, it was very educational to observe administration of a global health nonprofit in action.One of my responsibilities was supporting the website and social media marketing. I enjoyed the experience of sharing the awesome work that Curamericas does and engaging with its supporters. For instance, I put up a webpage to raise money to fill suitcases full of medical supplies and it felt good to follow the numbers ticking up over time.
I would highly recommend volunteering for Curamericas. I met really great people during my time there, and I think that people with a variety of interests can gain a lot of knowledge and useful skills from lending their support. Additionally, you get to support an important cause. I wish more people, both locally and worldwide, realized the profound impact that a relatively small organization like Curamericas has made on so many lives. In marginalized or forgotten communities, people die from causes that are preventable and we often can take for granted. I wish more were aware of this and could see how a little bit of support can make literally life-changing differences.
Taranjot Bajwa (Intern, Spring 2017)
“I graduated in May from Meredith. I worked with Barbara and loved having her as a supervisor. I worked on putting events together such as the Mother Daughter event and the Film Festival held at the church. I really liked volunteering at Curamericas because I worked with great people and I was really able to hone in on my people and communication skills. I’m currently working at UNC Hospitals as a Clinical Unit Worker/CNA. Looking to go to school to become a physician’s assistant (PA) and looking at maternal and infant health. I’d love to come back and volunteer in the future!”
Courtenay Pasiczniak (Volunteer, 2017)
“While there in Guatemala, we did deliveries, we did consults, we did some home visits as well as education in the school system. We taught hygiene ed and sex ed. One day we were woken up to help with a breech delivery. It was new to me. There was no C-section. The body was delivered. The head was stuck. It was high adrenaline drama. The baby was born dead but was revived via CPR. Some of us were doing songs and prayers. The Comardona were all laying on the floor singing lullabies and prayers. The baby actually survived. It was a huge lesson for me. With everything we had been taught, that baby should not be alive. We would have been pronounced it dead on delivery in the US. But the way the Casa Materna staff reanimmated the baby surprised me. At first I just thought they were doing it was for the mother-going that extra mile. But then, at one point I put my stethoscope on the baby’s chest and was amazed to hear a heartbeat. It was a wonderful experience. I had gone on similar trips before but I had never felt so useful; every future volunteer program I do will be with Curamericas. I loved the empowerment of the women, the training cascade, and I noticed the wealth of statistics we have which helped to make everything very well informed.”
Nicki Newsome (Volunteer, 2017)
“During my trip with Curamericas I was able to do and see a lot; I felt like I learned from the staff jsut as much as they learned from me and the other volunteers. The peak experience was home visits. We were able to see their houses, women showed off their kitchen gardens, and were very proud of their work. Seeing how locals are learning to be self-sufficient while keeping traditional values was nice.; We spent lots time playing with them. I can’t wait to go back.”
Jill Block (Volunteer, 2017)
“I enjoyed every bit of the experience. Particularly was being with the people in the villages. Being able to use my medical background to help others was gratifying. I did work in the Casa Maternas. We did home visits, prenatal checks, helping with growth monitoring in home visitations. We found a child with eczema and taught their parents how to treat them properly. It was my first time doing volunteer work and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
Susan Ventaloro (Intern, Fall 2016)
“I graduated in May from NC State with Global Studies and International Development degrees and am currently living at home and looking at master’s programs for healthcare management and business-hoping to work at a hospital; I spent a lot of time doing financial reports, time sheets, organizing for volunteer trips while at Curamericas. I loved Barbara and Jane and enjoyed working with them. I liked having access to the Global Health Conferences. The entire internship helped me solidify what I wanted to do career-wise.”
“My internship at Curamericas Global provided an excellent foundation for what was yet to come in my career. I am SO grateful for Curamericas’ knowledgeable and dedicated staff who offered me invaluable experience. I’ve been fortunate to continue my international skills and global health interests, and find this work especially rewarding during this new political age. I currently work at Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, where I mainly assist with operations related to the Program on Global Policy and Governance in Geneva. This program serves as Duke’s main pipeline to the United Nations and I’ve been so inspired by the students, faculty, staff and researchers dedicated to finding solutions to global issues that matter.
In my free time, I continue my work in the global health space by assisting in health behavior research led by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics AIDS Foundation. I work with EGPAF’s Research Officer and help code interviews, process qualitative data, and am currently helping with the writing of a publication for a study on Option B+ in Cameroon. This research guides programming to prevent vertical transmission of HIV, from mother to child. You can have all of the programs, policies and medical supplies in the world for a community, but if a mother doesn’t take their medication at the end of the day or visit the health facility for birthing her baby… it’s all for nothing! I have an increasing respect for efforts that promote sustainable development, and further admire organizations like Curamericas that addresses health needs according to the cultural dynamics of a community. I am motivated by and hopeful for, more than ever, people in need of access to health care.”
“I am currently finishing up my Master of International Studies degree at North Carolina State University with a specialization in International Program Administration. I am also working full time as a Project Associate in the Global Health Division at RTI International. Over the summer, I worked as an International Program Instructor in Panama for an organization named Broadreach, which runs summer abroad programs for middle school high school, and college students. I also volunteered with Curamericas once again this summer, acting as a translator for a group volunteer trip to Guatemala. I hope to remain involved with Curamericas in the future!”
Nicole Lawson (Intern, Spring 2016)
“I graduated in May 2016 with a degree in Dance and Spanish Literature; worked in Outreach and Development under Barbara, did translation work for Casa Maternas which were undergoing transition to being solely run by the local community at the time. I also worked on editing blog posts. Because of this internship, I received a job as a receptionist for the American Dance Festival. I’m now a dance teacher in the Greensboro/Kernersville area and I’ve produced my own show with Joy Movement. Curamericas was my first time doing major translation work. I didn’t know much about medical/public health translation so it was invaluable experience.”
“I received my Master’s in International Studies from NC State. As an intern, I helped with the Mother Daughter Tea, did research for grants, and took data and reports from Guatemala-measurable results data into digestible info in the form of blog posts. After, I did an internship in Zambia through UNC’s water institute on solar powered water turbines, then worked for Samaritan’s Purse in the international disaster response unit. I also worked on emergency failed hospitals in Iraq-contacted medical professionals who would work in Iraq for 3 weeks mostly on women and children who were injured by IEDs. It was a WHO-funded project. I’m currently looking into other employment.”
“I graduated from Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina last May with degrees in both Health Communication and Spanish. I’m currently a graduate student at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. I’m here pursuing my master’s degree in public health with a concentration in health policy and management. I’m still navigating through the world of public health and finding my role in this vast yet wonderful field. Between being an international volunteer and an office intern, Curamericas Global solidified my interest in pursuing a career in public health. Upon graduation in May 2018, I hope to pursue a career working with children’s healthcare.”
Victoria Ellis (Intern, Summer 2015):
“Since leaving Curamericas Global, I joined the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline as a Future Leader. It’s a rotational role that includes sales, marketing and my ultimate destination of ViiV, our sister company that produces HIV medicines.”
Britnae Purdy (Intern, Spring 2015):
“Right after finishing my internship at Curamericas (spring 2015), I interned at the Special Programme for Research and Training in Neglected Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland for three months. After returning to the US, I started working at UNC-Chapel Hill and am now the public communications specialist at the NC Institute for Public Health, which is part of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (yes, everywhere I work seems to have a super long name!) In October, I started an MPH program through the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which I am attending as a distance-learning student.”
Victoria Ellis (Intern, Summer 2015):
“Since leaving Curamericas Global, I joined the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline as a Future Leader. It’s a rotational role that includes sales, marketing and my ultimate destination of ViiV, our sister company that produces HIV medicines.”
Nina Modanlo (Volunteer, 2015)
“I recently graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a BA in Public Health and Spanish. I’d like to work for a couple years before going into med school to become a physician. I’d like to do capacity building in the developing world; my trip to Guatemala got me interested in exploring healthcare in other countries. Before the trip I didn’t have any experience working in another country. The trip inspired me to go on a Doctors Without Borders trip after also. It was a shock to be there at first. It was very sobering to see poverty and see how people live. But the Calhitz staff were very supportive and helpful – very humbling for me to see how grateful they were for the help she provided. The food was amazing…”
Corey Gregg (Volunteer, 2015)
“I used my qualitative research on empowerment of Comunicadoras as my MPH and MD capstone research. I’m now doing a double residency in pediatrics and internal medicine in New Orleans. I loved the volunteer research experience and appreciate the Curamericas ethic of empowering locals to do for themselves. I was most impressed with the level of knowledge and skills as one descended the “pyramid” (organizational hierarchy) – how knowledgeable the Educadoras, Community Facilitators, and Comunicadoras were. What affected me the most were statements from the Comunicadoras to the effect that in the past no one in their community cared about anything they had to say, but now, since becoming a Comunicadora, they are respected for their knowledge and people listen to them, and perceive them as educated.
The staff he was most impressed with was Alma – powerful can do anything, the pillar of the organization. He was happy to hear Alma was still there. One incident that stood out was that for the going away party the night before he and other volunteers were leaving, some Curamericas staff who had gone over to Mexico and bought ants, sauteed them in butter for the fiesta. He thinks that kind of experience is memorable for volunteers. He had no advice about the volunteer/intern program, but programatically he suggested that for obstetric emergencies the families not have to pay anything for emergency transport – he suspected the seguro wouldnt always work that well (he was right) and he was glad to hear about the new approach in San MIguel Acatan/Tuzlaj Casa Materna whereby the muni covers the ambulance, driver, and half the gas and we pay half the gas, costing the families nothing – which has resulted in a huge increase in Casa use and compliance with referrals. He is absolutely fine with us sending a list of ways to be involved and said that though his time is limited, he would like to be more active with Curamericas, especially when he gets week-long breaks from his rotations.
Shayanne Martin (Volunteer, 2011 & 2015)
“One of the most memorable aspects of my experience volunteering were the stories – personal accounts by women being visited by Educadoras on domestic violence – which were very moving. I was also impressed by the work of Educadoras in empowering women during home visitation; Educadoras were teaching women about their rights to healthcare, women’s rights. Thanks to the experience I gained working with Community Health Workers in Guatemala, I’m now working at the USAID – HIV Health Workforce Development (in DC) where I work with CHWs.”
Jessica Moreno (Volunteer, 2015)
“Currently I am a research manager and nurse at a spine center in Texas. I’m also pursuing a Ph.D. in translational health research. I loved the time I spent in Guatemala. Once I finish school and have more free time, I’m eager to join another team that’s headed back to Guatemala, or wherever! I can’t overstate how much of an impact Curamericas makes on the people of Guatemala, Bolivia, and Kenya. Seeing the appreciation and gratitude from the mothers, fathers, grandparents, and children is priceless. It’s more than giving vaccinations or helping with health screenings, it’s playing soccer and basketball with the kids, learning Chu, and experiencing the culture.
While in Guatemala, I learned that I needed to keep volunteering and giving back. The experience was an awakening for me and allowed me to reevaluate my core values and what I found important in life. While in Guatemala, I was able to provide some health care services for the children, but I was also able to help build a space for a garden. I found it inspiring to see people, with little modern equipment, develop tools and easy fixes with the items they had. I would tell them to just go for it. It will be by far, the most rewarding and life changing experience. Once I’m finished with classes, I’m planning on signing up for another trip. I’ve only been to Guatemala, so I’m am excited to experience Kenya and Bolivia!”
Katie King (Intern, Fall 2014):
“Since interning with Curamericas Global in 2014, I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and moved to Greensboro for a job in graphic design. After working there for nine months, I began working as an editorial assistant at Our State magazine, where I have been writing and editing happily for the past year! I love being able to stay connected to Curamericas Global by continuing to do freelance design work for their marketing materials on a regular basis. It’s a great cause!”
Marian Larson (Intern, Fall 2014):
“I have been employed part-time as grant writer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle since Sept. 2015. I wouldn’t have gotten that job without my internship at Curamericas! Miss those guys!”
Casey McCormic (Fall 2013)
“I am currently working as a nurse at UNC Hospitals in the Emergency Department. Prior to nursing, I worked as the Urban Hygiene and Sanitation Officer for an organization called Seed Madagascar (formerly Azafady) in a small town in southeast Madagascar. I wish more global-health-minded students knew about Curamericas mission and projects. I only worked for Curamericas for a semester, but I learned that even though an organization has a small staff, they can still be a powerful force of change. I helped put together a grant that would help improve access to quality medical care for mothers and children in Guatemala. I was really proud to be apart of a project that was lead by a local community organization and had real sustaining power. Because Curamericas is small and very much working at the community level, you can have a direct impact on mothers and children in lower-resourced settings.”
Sandra Hartford (Volunteer, 2013):
“My husband, Buzz, and I are still volunteering at the Raleigh office. We live in Maine but spend our winters in NC and work in the office every Thursday. Our daughter, Jean, lives in Chapel Hill. She has lived in NC since 1984. We met Henry Perry and his family in 1977 when he was doing his residency at Maine Medical Center. We have been involved with ARHC/Curamericas since the beginning. Jean spent several months in Boliva with the Perrys in 1983 and tutored Baker and Luke. Curamericas is very special to us.”
Patty Loo (Volunteer, 2013-2014)
“I’m in Los Angeles where I do clinical work – home hospice and also hospitalist. I’m involved with a non-profit called Project Ankor – they work in Cambodia where they do medical mission trips. When I went with Curamericas to volunteer in Guatemala, I was impressed with how organized everything was – room/board/travel; also with how smoothly things went. I was most impressed with the dedication of the staff and eagerness to learn. For any future volunteers I would tell them about the cultural differences that they should expect. Sometimes there’s longer lunch breaks, or different hours of working, etc. That takes some time to adjust to.
In Guatemala, I was really passionate about the data validation work I did. Curamericas’ passion rubbed off on me. That passion made data work actually fun for me.”
Lauren Heafy (Intern Fall 2012)
“While there I was pursuing a Master’s in International Affairs with an interest in Global Public Health and development at NC State. At Curamericas I worked on grants management, USAID coordinating, research on prospective grants, worked in finance, program management, and development, and wrote blog posts. I was exposed to running a non-profit. The internship at Curamericas helped me secure a position as a grant assistant at Planned Parenthood Federation in NYC. I used to be grant analyst but now I’m Senior Manager of Health Grants; would like to transition into the program development side more so that I can work on developing and implementing sustainable health solutions on the ground like Curamericas does”.
Claribel Marmol (Intern, Summer 2012):
“Upon graduating from Boston School of Public Health I started working at Community Healthcare Network (CHN) as a Family Planning Health Educator in the South Bronx. I’m still working at CHN in a new role: Sexual and Reproductive Justice Program Coordinator. I’m currently applying to programs to obtain a Family Nurse Practitioner degree.”
Betty Rupp (Volunteer, 2012)
I am currently a public health researcher at the UNC Collaborative Studies Center for the Adolescent Trials Network for HIV/AIDS. In the future I hope to be able to continue contributing to making people’s lives better through public health and advocacy. My experience as an intern in Liberia taught me that you can do a lot with a little. I greatly enjoyed the deliverables that I worked on, especially the process and fidelity program evaluation for the Nehnwaa Project’s Behavior Change Communications. I also greatly enjoyed working with the Nehnwaa team to adapt a survey I had developed to measure the impact of a microfinance programs on community health worker motivation. It was a wonderful experience.
Medmak Kakay (Intern, Fall 2011)
“I’m now working with Jew’s Foundation in the Netherlands. I’ve been here for 6 and a half years now. What I gained from my time at Curamericas was pure experience. I received great experience working there. I had just finished undergrad where I studied at North Carolina Central University. I really craved more experience. And Curamericas met that craving well. Before interning with Curamericas, I didn’t know much about how public health worked globally. But during the internship I was able to get a clear insight into national and local versions of global health. I helped to start the project site in Liberia and Sierra Leone (where I’m from). I had the chance to develop situational analysis for the latter of these two projects.
When I left I wanted to go to grad school. I became interested in global health. I wanted to explore global health more. So I went to DC and enrolled in graduate school. My resume from Curamericas showed that I had global experience. When I was in Liberia I explored a lot and participated a lot in the HIV work performed there. Worked closely with the planning and implementation program there. I was admitted ASAP for grad school. I’ll be finishing a double-master’s this May in Public Health policy management and public policy global health from New York Medical College. I really enjoyed my time with Curamericas because I was struggling to finish my undergrad. I didn’t understand how to put what I had learned during undergrad into practice. The applicability of what I learned in undergrad was perfect for Curamericas. I was able to relate my experience with Curamericas with my undergrad learning. I felt so proud to excel there. I tell people all about Curamericas Global all the time!”
Kristen Patrick (Volunteer, Guatemala)
” I was a labor and delivery nurse; it was a wonderful experience. I did different things each day – home visits, clinic/Casa Materna – mostly home visits and working with Care Groups – I loved it and learned a lot. I learned from local women. They showed me how they approach health care, how it was different. How they used medical plants and herbs; I learned about how they take care of each other as a community; one night all the women did each other’s hair Mayan style. Eating together that last night was very nice; the whole thing was a life-changing experience for me – I had traveled to Europe before, but this was different. That trip made me realize how rich the people in the Mayan communities were with social and mutual support; they opened my eyes to a new reality – now I want more community in my life and would love to go back to Guatemala.”
Mandesa Smith (Volunteer, Guatemala)
” I worked in Guatemala and worked at the Casas Maternas doing primary care/maternal care, training of Casa staff, and home visits. I learned about the culture and wanted to help others less fortunate. The people and food were wonderful, staff and community people welcoming and generous; I just liked everyone. Home visits were really cool. We got to see how people actually lived – weighing babies, checking water treatment, etc. I wanted to learn more from the people and also learn more from Curamericas Guatemala staff.”
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