Sam Powers is a third-year in the College, majoring in Statistics and Religious Studies and the Masters in Public Health program. Sam is involved in Center for Global Health research and community-based research with the Legal Aid Justice Center. He also volunteers through the Madison House Music Mentoring program and is the Vice Chair for First Years on the University Judiciary Committee. Sam spent this summer in Rwanda as a Center for Global Health Scholar researching the relationship between faith-based and public healthcare systems and disparities in malnutrition.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED?
Most of my work in the community stems from my personal faith background as a Christian. Growing up in Church, my parents showed me the importance of using my talents to care for those around me. So, I have always been involved in some sort of community-oriented service work from a young age.
WHAT HAS BEEN MOST REWARDING?
The most rewarding aspect has been the sense of purpose community-based work provides to the rest of my school experience. Knowing that what I do can have a tangible, positive impact provides me personal incentive to continually refine my talents in order to do a better job in the future.
HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO BE INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY IN THE FUTURE?
Through my work with the Legal Aid Justice Center, and on a few other personal research projects, I have learned how to use data to expose areas where people are being marginalized and to provide quantitative backing to spur change. As I become more experienced, I hope to use my data-based skillset to investigate health-related disparities. My dream job would incorporate community-based public health work, would rely on data-driven advocacy, and would largely be informed by the skills and experiences I am currently developing at UVA. Based on my experiences this summer, I would count myself lucky to work on childhood malnutrition and issues of food security.Read the rest of this Learning In Action interview