University Relations

Allison Spicher

Major: Human Physiology
Expected Graduation: Graduated May 2013
Volunteer Experience: Hennepin County Medical Center, Pro Choice Resources, Neighborhood Involvement Program, Minneapolis American Indian Center, Southside Family Charter School, and Manav Sadhna (in Ahmedabad, India). 

Meaningful Instance:
While volunteering with Manav Sadhna in Ahmedabad, India, Allison learned how appreciated a little effort to overcome cultural and language barriers can be. While handing out flyers for an upcoming medical camp, Allison asked the man she was working with to teach her some phrases in Gujarati so she could communicate with the people they met. Even though the words felt funny in her mouth and came out awkward and choppy, the smiles from the people Allison met clearly displayed their appreciation for her effort. 

Most Important Issues:
The social justice issues that most resonate with Allison's skills and interests are based in health care. Because Allison is not yet able to work in her primary interest area of providing health care to the underserved, she strove in her community work to learn about different areas of health care that could help her in the future as a physician. For example, by volunteering as a counselor in a mental health department, Allison learned about aspects of mental health that are frequently overlooked when physicians address physical health. 

 Impact of Scholars Program:
The Scholars program has been great at reminding Allison that in her efforts to address injustice, she is never alone. Allison feels that the community of scholars is one that shares the goal of making the world a better place for those currently pushed to the margins of society. Because of the Scholars program, Allison also has an increased appreciation for group reflections. It is one thing to reflect on your own, but it is even more valuable to have dialog within a group based on reflection. 

 Service-Learning Experience :
The Introduction to Social Justice service learning course Allison took was the first place where she found words to describe the injustices she saw blatantly occurring in society. On the first day of class, Lisa (Allison's professor) said, "Social justice is when everyone gets firsts before anyone gets seconds". Although Allison has developed her own views on how she define social justice, it was this first working definition that provided a basis for her future reflections.

Advice to Scholars:
"Explore. College is a time for learning what you do or do not enjoy doing and by exploring your options you'll set yourself up for the most rewarding career in the future! It may be scary, but that's where my second piece of advice comes in" "Build relationships with other scholars. This is probably going to be the only time in your life you're surrounded by so many diverse, but likeminded people. Reach out to them and learn from each other (in other words, go to RAP Sessions! )."