Oneida Shushe, a sophomore at Colgate University, is an advocate for under-resourced communities through direct service. A Molecular Biology major, Oneida also seeks to understand barriers to healthcare and the impact on overall health. This summer, she will continue a project she began in high school to bring basic oral health resources to her community of origin in Albania. She will follow that up by studying social justice movements in South Africa and explore the policy aspects of international humanitarian health efforts in Geneva, Switzerland. On campus, she spearheaded a fundraiser or a Public Health trip to Central Mexico. She started a student chapter of Kiwanis to engage more of her peers in direct service. She interned at a dental clinic, served as a patient advocate at a homeless shelter, and worked at the Food Bank in her hometown. Oneida is steadfast in her determination to make a difference in the lives of those who struggle to overcome barriers to health and wellness. Her contributions on Colgate's campus are undoubtedly a small glimpse into the great things she will accomplish in her future as a civic leader.
In 3rd grade, my family was selected to apply for the U.S. Diversity Visa Program. We left Albania for the "Land of Opportunity." Because I am grateful for the good fortune in my life, I genuinely care about individuals with less privilege.
I believe that social issues are best addressed by listening to people who are directly affected by the problem at the grassroots level and then empowering them in a sustainable movement. Getting more people involved means more can be accomplished. These are the factors I've considered in designing a project I will implement this summer to address structural barriers in Albanian communities through dental health education and young adult activism. The goal of my project is to empower individuals in poorer communities by promoting dental health education, while also identifying barriers to dental health care in those communities.
As a Molecular Biology major interested in dentistry, community outreach, and public health, I will also study social justice movements in South Africa this summer and explore the policy aspects of international humanitarian health efforts in Geneva, Switzerland next fall. I hope to pursue a career addressing health disparities in communities in the United States and across the world.