Monday, December 4, 2017 -- Emily Dvorak, a sophomore global health and humanitarian assistance and leisure, youth and human services double major, recently returned from a disaster relief mission where she was stationed in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. She was deployed there to assist with hurricane relief and recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria tore through the area.
“Thanks to amazing professors who have allowed me to take time to participate in this service learning opportunity, I gained real-world experience pursuing the field I strive to some day work in,” said Dvorak.
While placed there as a sheltering associate, Dvorak received a crash course in their culture.
“Working 12 hour days alongside the local Crucian Red Cross volunteers, I was exposed to an entirely different culture and through them learned so much about their way of life and their value systems,” said Dvorak.
She was able to engage with the people who were living in the shelter, and was also able to see firsthand the after effects of traumatic experiences, including, but not limited to, homelessness, substance abuse, physical violence, hunger and poverty.
“It showed me that caring for people is more about being compassionately competent than it is about being culturally competent,” said Dvorak.
The experience overseas has served as somewhat of a launch pad for a number of other opportunities since she has returned from the Virgin Islands. Dvorak is not exactly sure where this will take her next, but she is confident that it is only the beginning.
“I’m ready to take on the next adventure and continue serving those in need!”
by Peyton Husmann, student, Office of University Relations