My name is Celeste Rousseau, and I have just completed my second year at the University of Florida. I am currently studying Biological Engineering, with a focus on Biomedical Engineering, and have a strong interest in health awareness and medicine.
I joined the UF Society for Viral studies during my first year, and I became extremely interested in the club’s public health focus – particularly international health. As a result, I joined the club on a trip to Brazil, where I participated in hospital and laboratory observations.
My positive experiences on the Brazil trip inspired me to plan the next trip for the organization. I wanted to have a greater focus on education and medical assistance, but was initially unsure of the channel I could take to complete these goals. I had been a member of Trinity United Methodist’s Sonlight Youth Choir and Appalachian Service Project team, where I had participated in a multitude of impactful and well organized projects. Many of my friends had participated in medical relief projects through Trinity, so I felt that they would provide me with the guidance I needed. Drew Pridgen was kind enough to direct me to Sarah, and since then she and I have been planning on a trip that would allow us to spread our knowledge while gaining a heightened understanding of medicine and culture.
So far, we have participated in a number of inspiring and impactful activities. These include shadowing physicians and dispensing medication at a community health outreach event, packaging and dispersing nutritious food, creating and presenting knowledge about water borne illness – particularly cholera – to local families, and sharing our story with the community via radio and television interviews.
We are really treasuring our experiences with the all of the community members, who have been so gracious, humble, and caring.
We are looking forward to all of the events we have planned for the rest of the week!