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Students gone South

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Group of adults and children viewing picture portraits
Photo courtesy of Alana Zamora.

Journalists can be known to take people’s breath away, yet a group of young journalists documented students helping give people breath.

The Global News Team, a group of five mass communications students, documented the ways respiratory care students provided health services to local communities in Guyana during a joint study abroad trip in January. Their work was displayed in an art exhibit, “Gone to Guyana,” March 6 at the Price Center.

Holly Wise, journalism lecturer and trip advisor, said this study abroad program is focused on service learning.

“The Global News study abroad are with groups of people that give back to the community,” Wise said. “The past two years we went to Nicaragua with nursing students helping in rural villages. This year we wanted to be there on the ground for the Department of Respiratory Care’s first independent trip abroad.”

Sharon Armstead, director of clinical education and clinical assistant professor, said the decision to lead a group of students to Guyana had a personal meaning.

“I was born there and left when I was 12,” Armstead said. “After going there on a mission trip in 2015, I knew I wanted to bring students there on a study abroad. When I walked around and saw that there was a lack of respiratory (care) there, I knew then, I could give back.”

Five respiratory care students worked in a critical care unit, an ER, administered treatments and administered preliminary function screenings at a local high school as part of their program. The Global News Team accompanied the respiratory care students in the hospitals to document the work they were doing and tell their stories.

Alana Zamora, public relations senior, said the medical services the students provided and the chance to document them is what inspired her to go on this abroad.

“The other abroad trips are to places I could go to whenever,” Zamora said. “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to get full access to the hospitals and document their stories. I felt like it was important for me to go on this trip.”

Zamora’s exhibit was a multimedia project that captured the trip through film and pictures. However, she gained more than just media experience.

“I pushed myself out of my comfort zone,” Zamora said. “I’m an introvert, and before, I didn’t have a journalism mindset of talking to people to get a story. Being put in the setting, I learned how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

Skyler Jennings, journalism junior, learned about the trip through Wise and decided to go on this trip for its unique experience.

“You don’t go to an actual classroom,” Jennings said. “You’re working with the people, living with the people, it was an amazing experience as a journalist.”

Jennings documented her experience through photos and blog posts. She said this trip not only helped her grow as a reporter but also allowed her to establish great friendships.

“Being a journalist in a different country is really a test of your skills,” Jennings said. “It was nice being with people that are going through the same things you are. It was a quick bonding experience and in the end, it felt like I knew them all longer than 11 days.”

Wise said this study abroad program attracts students who wish to go deeper with their reporting.

“They are people that want to use their skills and talents as storytellers, as journalists, to leave a bigger impact on their audience and the world,” Wise said.

The Global News Teams’ blog posts and videos are available to the public on the Facebook and blog.

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