Category Archives: Jolley Foundation Grants

Sea Turtle Rescue at the South Carolina Aquarium

Original posted contributed by Aren Carpenter ’18, recipient of the Jolley Foundation Internship Grant for summer 2017.

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston thanks to a Jolley Foundation grant. I spent about half of my time working in the Sea Turtle Rescue Hospital that treats stranded, injured, and ill sea turtles from the entire east coast. It was an incredibly productive summer for the hospital this year; we treated more than 30 sea turtles and were able to release several just in the time that I was there. There are few experiences more rewarding. The staff and volunteers have such passion for these animals and it was a real pleasure being able to work with them to make a real difference for these turtles. I was involved with the daily care (feeding, cleaning, medical procedures, etc.) of the sea turtles and I was the primary caregiver for 12 terrapins, an estuarine turtle that I was using for research.

Terrapins are near threatened in several South Carolina populations and my research allowed me to study their interactions with crab traps, a leading cause of their aren-carpenterdeclines in the area. I conducted a series of tests on these terrapins and I am planning to submit my findings for publication later this year! Hopefully, my research can help mitigate terrapin deaths in the future. My previous exposure with terrapins also allowed me to start a biweekly terrapin educational program at the aquarium geared for younger children and teenagers. I was told by several of my supervisors that many guests commented that they loved the chance to have hands-on experiences with terrapins, so I believe it was a successful endeavor! As one of my professors used to comment, ‘you never know when one experience, however brief, could inspire a kid to be the next biologist or vet or scientist’. I’d like to think that I was allowing the thousands of kids I talked with to have such an experience.

In all, my summer was everything I hoped it would be. I can’t say enough how thankful I am to the Jolley Foundation for allowing me to expand my horizons, if you will, by exploring new career paths and making a difference in the lives of turtles and aquarium goers alike this summer.

Judith Rosales Rivas Shares Her Experience with Golden Doors Scholars

Judith poses with Ric Elias, founder of Red Ventures and Golden Door Scholars
Judith poses with Ric Elias, founder of Red Ventures and Golden Door Scholars

Judith Rosales Rivas ’17, the author of this post, is one of two 2015 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.

This summer I had the privilege of working for Red Ventures’ nonprofit called Golden Door Scholars. Golden Door Scholars is an organization that was founded by Red Ventures’ CEO Ric Elias and aims to provide equal educational opportunities for undocumented youth in the Carolinas. Being a Golden Door Scholar myself, I know how important this organization is for students that have limited ways to access a college education. As an intern, I realized how great of an impact their efforts make in the lives of all the scholars and donors alike.

“I felt a sense of purpose and I knew I was making a positive impact not only for the 45 scholars that have received the scholarship so far, but also for future scholars.”

I must say that this summer was the most productive one I have had. I was busy all day, preparing for events, helping with the construction of the new Golden Door Scholars website, meeting with volunteers and mentors, working in groups with other scholars, writing back to donors and students asking for help and advice, etc. It was all worth the hard work. I learned so much about networking, teamwork, and ways to find resources on my own. I felt a sense of purpose and I knew I was making a positive impact not only for the 45 scholars that have received the scholarship so far, but also for future scholars. This coming year Golden Door Scholars will go nationwide, and more students in this country will be benefited. I am extremely happy that I am part of this change.

The experience I gained through this internship will help me start an organization for undocumented students on Davidson’s campus. Davidson College students (like the majority of colleges and universities) do not have knowledge of resources specific to undocumented students, which is one of the reasons why I think starting such an organization will be an important step in making Davidson a more welcoming and supportive institution. Thanks to the internship, I found resources such as post-college scholarships that do not require citizenship, healthcare options for undocumented youth, and support groups in the Charlotte area. Furthermore, one of my responsibilities on the job was to do research on licensing requirements for undocumented students. These vary from state to state, but I now have a better knowledge about which professional jobs are available for students that lack documentation.

I hope that more opportunities like these are opened for students in the future because they are life-changing experiences that elicit personal and professional growth.

Water Missions International: Julia Sacha’s Summer Internship

Julia Sacha ’17, the author of this post, is one of two 2015 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.

When was the last time you used clean water? Was it that sip you took from your bottle a few minutes ago? Was it washing your hands before lunch? The flush of your toilet half an hour ago?

We use water so frequently we don’t even think about it.

For some people, collecting water is one of the most time consuming activities of their day. For instance, the woman who has to walk 3 hours each way to Lake Victoria in Uganda to fill up a jerrycan of water.

Women and children can spend up to 6 hours of their days just collecting water — water they may not even know is contaminated with various bacteria.

I had the opportunity this summer to intern with Water Missions International, a nonprofit Christian engineering organization that works to provide sustainable safe water and sanitation solutions for people in developing countries and disaster areas (watermissions.org). I interned in their Health Impact Studies division, where they research how people’s health has been influenced by the use of water and what cultural barriers keep people from using Water Mission’s safe water system. Specifically, I researched survey platforms and arranged two surveys to be used in Uganda. I worked on both a household survey and a mobile survey to determine how often people use the safe water and reasons why they may not use the safe water. Do they collect dirty water due to a lack of knowledge of harmful bacteria? Is it due to the relative distance from the safe water? Is it due to the cost of the safe water? The answers for these questions vary depending on the community and are not always straightforward. Yet, they are immensely important, as drinking a small amount of dirty water is enough to make one sick.

Through her internship with Water Missions, Julia Sacha helped assemble water systems
Through her internship with Water Missions International, Julia Sacha ’17 helped assemble water systems for people in developing countries or disaster areas.

As a Christian nonprofit, faith is an essential part of the work done. Every morning before work, we gathered to pray for the countries we were working in, the community members, their systems, and for one another. I believe Jesus worked, is working, and will continue work through Water Missions’ to provide safe water and transform people’s lives. I truly hope to use what I’ve learned about sustainability and helping others in both my daily life and future career.

Erika Hernandez tells about her internship at Safe Passages in Rock Hill, SC

Erika Hernandez ’15, the author of this post, is one of four 2014 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.

I’ve spent most of my summer in Rock Hill, about an hour south of Davidson, helping

Erica and her supervisor, Sam Berinsky, the Volunteer Coordinator at Safe Passage
Erica and her supervisor, Sam Berinsky, the Volunteer Coordinator at Safe Passage

around Safe Passage. Safe Passage is an organization that provides services to victims and survivors of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual trauma. Safe Passage also has an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence who are in imminent danger.

I remember the day that I was given a tour of the shelter. I felt pretty cool getting so much insider access to this program that has saved people’s lives. As I walked through the shelter, it was pretty quiet since there were only a few residents. I remember thinking, “I’m glad the shelter is empty, that means there aren’t many DV cases going on…” As though my supervisor were reading my mind, she told me that it wasn’t a good thing that the shelter was so empty. South Carolina is the state with the highest rates of domestic violence, including women who are killed by their intimate partners, and Rock Hill is on the top list within the state. So, having an empty shelter did not mean that domestic violence was not going on out there; it meant that those who were in dangerous situations were not seeking help.

It was in that moment that I realized how critical Safe Passage’s services are. One of them is a 24/7 crisis hotline where anyone can call to get help. I’ve spent a good amount of my time here inputting data on the crisis call database which requires me reading the stories of the women AND men who call, telling their stories of abuse and hardship. I’ve read about women who can’t call the police because their abuser IS the police, others who were being held hostage in motel rooms and even men who feel the need to defend themselves for asking for help with their abusive wives. In my mind, these were all stories that could only exist in a movie but it’s not like that at all. These were real people with real troubles.

While I encountered countless stories that were hard to wrap my mind around, I’ve come to realize that each phone call the crisis line receives is someone else breaking the silence in their abusive relationships. Many women have stood up after years and years of abusive relationships, tired of receiving treatment they don’t deserve. It’s that first step that really brings hope to women and men in these relationships but they’re places like Safe Passage that provide guidance for the steps to follow in regaining hope of a safe future.

Emerson Bouldin talks about her experience so far through an internship at Williamsburg Regional Hospital in Kingstree, SC.

Emerson Bouldin ’16, the author of this post, is one of four 2014 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.

Williamsburg Regional Hospital Logo
Williamsburg Regional Hospital Logo

I am typing this blog post at my desk, or rather a folding table, in the office that I share with the Quality director. This ‘office’ used to be the patient chemotherapy room, and the curtain hanging in the corner and the old sink behind the door remind me of that. This summer, I have had the incredible opportunity to work as an intern at Williamsburg Regional Hospital in Kingstree, SC. I’m living in Charleston, which is about 70 miles away. It takes me about an hour and a half to get to work everyday. Mostly my mind wanders about getting more coffee, but the other week I caught myself thinking about the limited resources of Williamsburg Regional.

WRH is classified as a critical access hospital. Essentially, critical access hospitals are rural community hospitals that must meet certain criteria, one of which being that the hospital is at least 35 miles away from any other hospital. The director of Quality, who I share an office with, told me that there usually isn’t enough demand to sustain a critical access hospital. They exist because without them too many people would die, simply because they live too far away from a hospital. Therefore, these hospitals receive cost-based reimbursement in order to keep their doors open. More than most places, critical access hospitals feel the pressure of limited resources. My small office is a literal reminder of that.

During my first week, I found out that a significant number of employees did not have Microsoft Word because the program was too expensive. But Microsoft Word is the least of the hospital’s problems. There are daily concerns that revolve around Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements because even the smallest changes can have significant repercussions on hospital functions. I learned that larger hospitals often don’t worry if they cannot reclaim payments of $500 or less, but those lost payments make a serious difference here at Williamsburg Regional. Even patient care capabilities are limited because there are about 25 beds in the hospital, and only 6 of those of are Emergency Room beds. A bad car accident could easily overwhelm the ER. How do we balance maintaining cost-efficient facilities and also the capabilities to respond to serious emergencies? It’s incredibly difficult.

I have developed a tremendous amount of respect for the people that keep Williamsburg Regional running. We sometimes take for granted the availability of healthcare resources and forget how difficult it can be to maintain those facilities.

Grace Balte reflects on her early internship experiences at Greenville Forward

Grace Balte, ’15, the author of this post, is one of four 2014 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.  

Grace after harvesting garlic from the teaching garden
Grace after harvesting garlic from the teaching garden

When I am not studying at Davidson, I am usually at my home in Atlanta. This summer, I have the amazing opportunity to work at Greenville Forward, which is a nonprofit located in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Greenville Forward looks at Vision 2025—a document created by the citizens of Greenville that describes where Greenville as a community wants to have progressed by 2025—and monitors how far the community is progressing  and how to promote positive changes within Greenville County.

Before this summer, I have not really spent much time in Greenville, so it has been a great experience to learn about multiple aspects of the city as I am working here. On my second day in Greenville, I took a walking tour through downtown Greenville, seeing firsthand how downtown had been revitalized in the past ten years. I saw how much pride the people of Greenville take in their city, whether it be making the entire downtown area a pedestrian area or using Goodnight, Moon as the inspiration for Mice on Main, where bronze mice hide along Main Street, creating a scavenger hunt.

Greenville Forward is very interested in engaging with the community in ways that change Greenville for the better. They do this through talks with the community, film screenings, and working in community gardens, among other programs. During my first week here, we had a roundtable discussion about urban sprawl, an issue which greatly impacts Greenville. Instead of just talking in circles about how it was an issue, we discussed why urban sprawl exists and why it is so difficult to change it. It is discussions like these that have come to define my time and research at Greenville Forward. Instead of just saying that a problem or pattern exists in Greenville, I have been looking at why the problems and patterns exist and why it can be so difficult to change them and what change is possible.

One afternoon last week, I worked in the community garden harvesting some garlic. Although there are many community gardens located throughout the community, I was working in the teaching garden. While I have had some experience gardening, I learned so much more just on one afternoon than I have just gardening on my own. The entire experience was great; I got to meet many other people who were also interested in gardening as well as the best way to pick kale.

I am currently about halfway through my time in Greenville and I have enjoyed every minute of my experience so far. The best part of my experience, right now at least, is learning about Greenville both from an outsider’s perspective and from an insider’s. For example, driving through town and walking along Main Street has given me a great chance to see exactly how Greenville has changed and grown in the past ten years. By working in Greenville and getting to know the community both through my research and through my time involved with Greenville Forward’s programs, I get to know a different side to Greenville, one that as an outsider I probably wouldn’t be able to see. Although I will only be here for a few more weeks, I hope that during my time I will be able to keep discovering new things about Greenville, by both living and working here.

 

Xzavier Killings shares impressions at the midpoint of his internship at St. Luke’s Free Clinic in Spartanburg,SC

Xzavier Killings ’16, the author of this post, is one of four 2014 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.  

Xzavier with Executive Director of the clinic, Patsy Whitney
Xzavier with Executive Director of the clinic, Patsy Whitney

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to intern at a medical clinic? To see a patient in dire need of your help and you have the knowledge and skills to help them? To hear the applaud and admiration of doctors and nurses for doing a good job? Well my experience is nothing like that, but I have been fortunate enough to turn everything I hoped for into reality.

Vital Signs —Before coming to St. Luke’s I knew I wanted to be a doctor,  but I didn’t have much experience in different areas of medicine. One might even blame this lack of experience on my knowing nothing about vital signs. I knew they were important because they had the word “vital” in them, but I thought that understanding them was a complicated process that only doctors and nurses knew how to decode. Luckily, I was wrong. My first patient was an elderly woman who was easy going. I feel that she sensed I was green behind the ears and she helped me through the process.  I learned that patients help healthcare providers just as much, if not more, than healthcare providers help patients. First we measured her blood pressure, it’s important to note that placement of the sleeve is key! After fiddling with what I thought was the right place, I pressed the button on the machine and it started beeping; it worked! Next we conquered the weighing scale which was pretty self-explanatory. The real challenge came with measuring blood sugar. Once I was over the fear of hurting her from the puncture of the needle, I was able to help. With each new patient, I am reinvigorated to record their signs because I feel it is their body’s way of communicating with me.

Free Food – I bet you’re wondering how free food is connected with my experience in health care. (If you’re not then I don’t understand why you don’t.) Well I’ll tell you, every Tuesday and Thursday St. Luke’s holds a night clinic for patients who aren’t able to attend the day clinic. Church volunteers started a tradition to prepare a meal for the doctors and volunteers who work the night clinics because most of them would leave their practices and regular jobs and come straight to St. Luke’s without eating. By providing a meal it showed the doctors that their time and skill were valued and this created a great relationship between doctors and St. Luke’s. Since I started my internship I have worked every Tuesday and Thursday night until closing at the clinic and have constantly been inspired by the compassion and humility of others. I didn’t expect random acts of kindness to go so far but they really make a huge impact. In the night clinic I’ve had the opportunity to shadow dermatologists, family physicians and orthopedists and have had first-hand experience with patient interaction. I really appreciate how these doctors provide excellent care to patients and communicate with them to the point where they leave knowing everything they talked about and their plan of action for the future. I’ve never seen a patient leave confused or still questioning his/her healthcare. However, I have seen a few leave angry and unsatisfied because they didn’t receive the medicine they wanted or because they weren’t prescribed the treatment they wanted…but that’s a story for next time.

The Back Desk – The first day I got to St. Luke’s I was put in a position to sink or swim. I was literally thrown into the action when the nurse placed me at the nurse’s station, aka back desk, and told me my task was to update patient charts after they had seen the doctor, schedule future appointments, and start their referral application to outside offices. I personally like to call the back desk “hub city” because it is the central area of communication throughout the clinic. One day you could see volunteers talking with doctors or the executive director of the clinic chatting with nurses. (Shout out to Patsy Whitney, executive director of St. Luke’s, for helping turn my dreams into a reality by allowing me to intern at St. Luke’s this summer.) My adventures at the back desk include being relocated to the third floor of the clinic to do administrative tasks where I file charts, update patient’s medication into the computer system and update patient’s re-applications. I’ve actually gotten a head start on learning some of the, nearly impossible to pronounce, medicines like amlodipine and omeprazole. My adventures also include being relocated to the front desk to help with patient check-in and patient application reviews. One of my most memorable experiences at the back desk includes meeting a Davidson Alumnus who also volunteers at the clinic; even though we are small in number we make a big impact (#greatdaytobeawildcat). The back desk has brought many great memories and I’m looking forward to those to come in the following weeks! Who would have thought that St. Luke’s had all this in store for me? Until we meet again….

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead