I'm a community health volunteer working with HIV/AIDS outreach, sensitization, and mobilization. I'm interested in doing research on the effect counseling has on ARV adherence with HIV+ patients. I am also working with student outreach groups, working on community mobilization.
Undergraduate, Related Experience:
I was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Orlando, Florida (education paid for thanks to the mouse, Mickey Mouse that is!).
I did my undergraduate work at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, where I majored in Psychology and minored in biology, chemistry, and photography (yes, I was THAT student). I graduated with honors and did the whole pre-med thing (stereotypical Indian kid) but failed miserably. After a great deal of thought and realizing I didn't want to spend the next full year studying for the MCATs again, I decided to apply to USF COPH on a whim (studying a whole month for my GRE, woah). Thankfully, I was accepted and looked further into the MI program, realizing it was the best fit for me. After my first year of coursework, I realized this was the program I was meant to do, the path I was meant to follow. Not getting into medical school was probably the best thing that has happened to me. Now I am able to focus on what I love most, helping people who want and need my help.
During my undergraduate work I was always busy doing volunteer work at hospitals, free health clinics, the Ronald McDonald House, among others. I also conducted research in cognitive psychology as well as in the health sciences department. Throughout my graduate school career I continued my passion for community service through organizations at USF COPH as well as through the Bulls Service Breaks program (USF's version of Alternative Spring Break). I spent the first year in the Gulf Coast, Mississippi helping rebuild houses (yes, they are still trying to rebuild from Katrina). I spent the second year in Atlanta, Georgia, working with Project Open Hands to deliver nutritious, balanced meals to patients with diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and other chronic diseases. I also worked as an editorial associate for the Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, where I had the opportunity to read current research on behavioral health, a true passion of mine.
I don't know where to begin with my traveling history. It seems from the beginning I was addicted to traveling, spending summers across the U.S. and in Canada. After my first trip to India at the ripe age of 13, I was hooked. I went to India many more times, followed by a trip through Europe, a study abroad trip to Australia and a hiking trip through South America. In the 25 years I've been around, I've been on six of the seven glorious continents, hitting 26 countries along the way. I hope to have set foot on all seven and hit 30 countries before I'm 30.
Why Peace Corps?
I want to help people help themselves. Everywhere I've gone, I have been drawn to those who want and need help and the Peace Corps has drawn my attention ever since I first heard about it during my undergraduate work. As a child of immigrants, I know how important it is for my family to give back to their home and for me, this is one step in the right direction, giving back to those people who have suffered for no good reason.
Initially, I didn't have the greatest support going into this. That caused me to question my decision a few times, but after a great deal of thought I knew this was the right thing for me. After receiving my placement, my parents thought it would be great, since they had spent 3 years in Zambia, where my older brother was born. Some of my extended family is still hesitant to "approve" of my decision, but I know it is right for me and in the end, my family will too. I now am happy to say I have the full support of my parents and a few members of my extended family, which only confirms my notion that this was right.
Gujurati, Spanish, and now Luganda
Here's a link to my blog: http://aditiuganda.blogspot.com