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Rachel O’Sullivan and Healthy Living May 16, 2012

Posted by Science Club for Girls in Alumnae, General Post.
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Rachel O’Sullivan joined Science Club for Girls as a kindergartener and is one of the initiators of the Junior Assistant (now Junior Mentor) program. She also founded our Ghana program. She graduated from Smith College with a degree in health education. She is also a certified doula. She was recently profiled in Teen Voices as a Leading Lady (http://www.teenvoices.com/2012/03/27/osullivan-leading-lady/).

Hello to all at SCFG and their fans! As some of you may know, I am an alum of the program, a daughter of the co-founder and was extremely involved with the start of the international partnership that SCFG has formed with a women’s non-profit in Ghana. Since it has been some time since my involvement with SCFG, I am more than pleased to give you all an update on my most recent adventures.

After my involvement in SCFG in High School, my focus shifted from the sciences and landed on anthropology, something I had been fascinated by since my travels in Ghana in high school. Despite my upbringing in a house where art and science were intimately linked, like most young Americans, I believed that people took two tracks, the “science track” and the “everything else track”. Since I had to be in one place to earn my BA instead of traveling the world, when it came time to pick a major, I decided to pick the “everything else track” where I at least could read about traveling the world. In doing so, my life in the sciences dwindled and the closest I came to the science world was moving my roommates’ lab notebook from my side of the room to hers.

As I studied anthropology and continued to travel, I became aware of a problem with seeing the world as the sciences VS everything else. In the summer between my first year and second year of college, I traveled to Tanzania where I worked closely with nurses and an OBGYN to create a program allowing women access to health information and health care resources, which I continue to work on till this day. In doing so, I noticed that Americans were not the only ones that had a separation between the sciences and culture, specifically medicine and culture. As I came to this realization I decided to focus my studies back at home more heavily on health, looking at medical anthropology, medical sociology and health psychology to attempt to make sense of the separation so many of us make between culture and modern medicine. In doing so my life became filled with science again. I looked more closely at how science and culture interacted with each other and was surprised to find that it was impossible to separate the two. Whether one was looking at the specific culture of the world of science or how science was informed by the culture in which it lived, it was impossible to see science and more importantly medicine, without the background of it’s culture.

As I continue to research this concept, I continue to tweak the programs I work on and curriculum I write to encompass this notion that the world of science and the world of humanities are codependent. I hope that the work I accomplish will begin to ask those who are inclined to believe the word of science to dig deeper and look at the context of the culture in which it came from and ask those who are inclined to write science off to look at how science has formed the culture and world we live in today.

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