Summer 2009 CBU-MHIRT Intern, Uganda
Lindsay is a junior majoring in College Scholars. Her project is titled "Peace and Reconciliation: Exploring New Perspectives in Post-Colonial Africa," and she has spent a significant amount of time studying abroad. In the spring semester of 2009, she worked in Washington D.C. as a policy intern at the Enough Project, which aims to prevent genocide and crimes against humnaity. During the summer of 2009, she will travel to Uganda as part of the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT) Program at CBU.
Lindsay describes how she became involved with the MHIRT program, and what she hopes to gain from this experience:
"I learned of the [MHIRT program at Christian Brothers University] right when I got back from Uganda in January. I was feeling down because I didn't know when I'd be able to return to Gulu, and Trish Hepner in Anthropology put me in contact with Julia Hanebrink from MHIRT. I helped her to organize an information session for UT students on CBU's MHIRT programs in Brazil and Uganda and went to dinner with her afterward. I also met the graduate student who handles the Gulu/Art Therapy study. I took those opportunities to share with them what I had already done in Uganda and express how vital it is to add a qualitative component to my research on creativity and peacebuilding. Thus far, I haven't had the opportunity to work on any clinical studies related to my field and interests. On my latest trip to Uganda, I remember a Ugandan friend talking about how important it was for his organization to have the science and the data to back-up their policy recommendations. It got me thinking how much weight my thesis and advocacy could carry if I knew how to add that data and scientific analysis to back up claims on just how helpful music and art are in peacebuilding and reconciliation.
I was concerned that my past experience in Uganda might not be what MHIRT was looking for, but I am very happy that they chose me as one of their two research assistants for the Gulu art therapy project. I'll be joined by Erin Kramer, a student from Maryville College. I don't know exactly how stiff the competition was this year, but Julia Hanebrink did write to us all and say that we should be proud to be among this group. I'm quite grateful for the opportunity to go back to Uganda all summer for free and get to expand my knowledge on an area I'm already so passionate about. It seems like a perfect match for my interests.
The application wasn't nearly as extensive as the Truman, but it did force me to evaluate where my strengths and weaknesses are in my studies in northern Uganda and how MHIRT would help me and how I could help them. I applied in mid-January and received notification in mid-March that I was selected.
This weekend I am attending a team-building retreat at Heifer Ranch in Arkansas. All of the MHIRT participants with CBU will be visiting the global village. There I think we'll be getting to know one another and learning about agricultural practices and lifestyles in the developing world.
In May I'll be attending a qualitative research training session in Memphis. I leave for Uganda in late May/early June and return in August before classes start. We will present our findings at a conference in Memphis in September. I don't know many details of what I'll be doing in Uganda, but I know I'll be helping with an ongoing study to measure the efficacy of art therapy with former child soldiers. Last summer, MHIRT conducted surveys in war-affected schools and had a control group at an organization called Hope North. Erin Kramer and I will be joined by a grad student (for part of the summer) and perhaps a senior faculty member from CBU. There will be another group in southern Uganda conducting another study on traditional healing."
To learn more about the MHIRT program at CBU, please visit their webpage.
To read more about Lindsay's College Scholars project, click here.