Written by Tobi Okopie, BS, Georgetown University and participant in the 2019 Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program – Public & Global Health Track
Most people would describe summer experiences as a large contributor to their college experience. What they often fail to mention is how life-changing a summer well spent can be.
For me, the Institute of Public Health’s Summer Research Program – Public and Global Health Track, has been revolutionary. I have learned more about myself than I imagined I could. I have deepened my interests and learned to tailor my research to sustainable work – a concept I have realized goes much deeper than generosity. Most importantly, I have gained knowledge on how best to communicate my thoughts in difficult situations. I feel like I am more equipped to pursue a lifelong career serving others, whether that be in public health or another arena.
This program has shown me that a life of service is not, and will not, be full of milk and cookies, but will surely require diligence. At the same time, it has re-emphasized the reality that the hard work that comes with service will reap a plentiful harvest (it will be rewarding).
The program is only halfway done, but I feel like I still have so much more to learn. From the seminars to my interaction with other fellows, I feel like the impact of such a network goes beyond surface level.
I am currently abroad in Uganda with another fellow, Olivia Pokoski, working on Dr. Shanti Parikh’s project. The bond we have established is unbelievable. The same goes for the other students in the program. From weekend hangouts to weekday meals, this set of people could not have been better selected. We have formed a natural friendship. In many cases, I feel like I have built a team that I could do life with – professionally and socially. In the future, we will have the program to thank. I am grateful for the opportunity and eager to see what is to come.