Seda Sahin is a junior at the University of Connecticut studying Molecular and Cell Biology with a minor in Spanish. As an aspiring physician, Seda has a special interest in education disparities in underserved populations. Since her first year of college, she has tutored biology, chemistry and mathematics in Connecticut correctional facilities to help incarcerated students obtain their GED and to prevent recidivism upon release. She now serves as Second Chance Educational Alliance’s program director. In this capacity, she instructs her own self-developed biology course and leads a team of six UConn volunteers at Cybulski Correctional Institute in Somers, Connecticut.
At UConn, she is a research assistant in the Department of Kinesiology, where she investigates muscle stress physiology. She is also one of the chief clinical research assistants at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, studying sexual health education in hopes of reforming education curricula. In addition, Seda currently serves as UConn Bridge to Guanin’s Mentorship Chair, where she trains and advises new volunteers for a medical service trip that travels to the rural community of La Piedra, Dominican Republic to provide mobile medical clinics and developmental infrastructure projects to help impoverished communities sustain themselves.
I view social service as a moral obligation. My privilege obligates me to serve those who are forgotten. As the daughter of Turkish immigrants and a first-generation college student, I have seen firsthand the importance of education, and how a lack of education can limit one’s life opportunities. Access to education is a complex problem. My approach to addressing it has been to take my early life experiences, pinpoint my current resources, and weave the two together to seek professionals in the field who could assist with my vision. Since my freshman year, I have tutored incarcerated students in biology, chemistry and mathematics at Connecticut correctional facilities, helping many obtain their GED with the goal of reducing recidivism upon release. In my sophomore year, I began instructing my very own course in biology with the Second Chance Educational Alliance where I created my own curriculum and led a team of UConn students who worked with prisoners to help prepare them to become successful members of society. Combining my academic background in biology with my service work was particularly rewarding. I have used this method in my medical service trip to the Dominican Republic where I helped in mobile medical clinics, lead health education workshops, and provide developmental infrastructure projects to help rural communities sustain themselves. As an aspiring physician, I believe it is essential to understand the presence of health and education disparities in order to create a solution.