This past semester, I took a course titled “Economy of Race and Gender.” While the course tracked the disparity amongst racial groups in the US, primarily White and Black, in an economic perspective, it provided insight to other racial groups. With discrimination and gaps in income, the not so privileged group(s) tend to do worse in life.
I can use this knowledge and apply it to my internship as many of these clients begin with nothing. They navigate the American lifestyle knowing little to no English and with a limited budget. Language barriers and limited to no knowledge on how to work with basic home appliances make living in the United States hard, I would suppose. I remember a story of one family that thought turning off the air conditioner means to push the lever down, which turned out to have an opposite effect of what they had hoped for. The next day, many of the young children suffered from colds and had to be taken to the doctor’s office. Hearing these stories really touch your heart. We must be appreciative that we know how to handle and work with these appliances and amenities, while people from other countries do not know how.
Additionally, the course at Brandeis discussed closing the educational gap where poor and underserved students through Affirmative Action are given preference in admissions. This made me think about my own background as a first-generation college student and how I was able to attend Brandeis. I never thought of leaving my city until mentors from a program that provides college readiness services encouraged me to apply out-of-state to universities like Brandeis, Brown, and the University of Pennsylvania. Information about the program, EMERGE-HISD, can be found here. During a short meeting with my supervisor, I brought up the idea of possibly developing a curriculum that encourages high school seniors to apply to need-blind and full-need universities and colleges. I would like for these clients to take advantage of the high-quality education that the United States offers so that they can become future leaders in the United States and the world at large.
As research has shown, minority students who enroll at these large, prestigious universities are known to return and serve underserved communities. Likewise, perhaps with these individuals, supported by the refugee agency, they will make an attempt to attend such universities to help bring change to their lives, the lives of their family members, and the lives of people around the world. Similarly, my goal and hope that all clients utilize and take advantage of the benefits of Medicaid will help close the gap of health care disparity both in terms of medicine and dentistry. The findings in this article are relevant to the work I will be doing within the next few weeks. Through my work, ranging from organizing client files, developing a curriculum, to educating clients, I hope that what I do purely reflects my attempt to give access to these individuals who might not know of such opportunities. With these resources, it is of my greatest interest to help inspire their lives and bring positive changes.