Scotties always impress me with their actions and ambitions. They have many unique interests and life goals. Emaline Laney, a senior at Agnes Scott, is a perfect example of a student who dreams big and has already engaged in some big-scale projects that have made a change in the world. Her passion (and major) is public health. She was kind enough to share with us her recent experiences in that field. Maybe her story will inspire you in reflecting about your own college goals…
Emaline Laney: It was a Monday in early October when I had the opportunity to attend the thirtieth anniversary of The Task Force for Global Health, a nonprofit organization focused on advocating and improving the health of under-served populations globally, headquartered in Decatur, GA – only a few blocks away from Agnes Scott. I had started at The Task Force my sophomore year where I helped with their ongoing polio eradication campaign. As I walked into the room at The Carter Center, with some of the most prominent figures in global health, it was hard to imagine that two years had passed.
The event, of course, was nothing less than fantastic. My brain stretched as I listened to the panelist, an impressive group comprised of Jim Kim, the president of the World Bank; Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners In Health; Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa; and Bill Foege, founder of The Task Force and leader of the successful smallpox eradication campaign. It was moving to learn about The Task Force’s enormous contributions to eliminate diseases of extreme poverty.
Toward the end, the panelists received a question from the floor, “What pearls of wisdom do you have for the younger generation?” All I could think was, it wasn’t me who asked! Foege couldn’t have answered it more beautifully. He said, it is your philosophy, skills and knowledge that will ultimately influence how and what you do in life, be it global health or otherwise.
As a senior in the process of applying to medical school, I knew (and hoped) that my skill would be medicine. It is medicine that will allow me to contribute meaningfully to the field of global health. And as Foege pointed out, knowledge is ephemeral – fleeting, changing and requiring continuous updates; Agnes Scott had done its job for the past four years.
The more elusive question was my philosophy, what I consider to be my moral core or the source of my motivation to do what I want to do. Shifting in my chair at the panel, I came to realize how much of my “philosophy” is to the credit of Agnes Scott. For if it wasn’t Agnes Scott shaping my philosophy (through our resilient honor code or committed professors), it was the opportunities received. At Agnes Scott, I had the chance to reach out and cultivate a network of educators and mentors in my field of interest from my time studying at Duke Kunshan University in China, working at Partners in Health in Boston, volunteering at the Nepal Cleft and Burn Center in Nepal, and collaborating with colleagues at The Task Force. All those experiences brought me to that very moment.
Whether you are interested in medicine, health or another major at Agnes Scott, I invite you to explore your options at majors.agnesscott.edu. And feel free, as always, to send me your questions at email@example.com.
Karolina Klimczak ’16
The International Fellow