Students plan for the summer, use programs to improve lives

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When I set out to write an article about Mercer students’ plans for the summer, I definitely had high expectations. I know that Mercer students are ambitious, adventurous world-travellers who, for the most part, would not be content spending a summer staring at a television in between sessions of baking in the sun next to a pool. (For the record, after the semester I’ve had, this summer option is looking more and more appealing every day.)

But Mercer students who volunteered their plans for my story exceeded my expectations. The students I spoke with are using their summers to work with causes that are important to them and to take steps towards bright futures.

Sophomore Emily Garrott is moving back to Macon on May 14-15 after overseeing the unveiling of a project she’s been working on in Washington DC since January. Garrott participated in George Washington University’s Semester in Washington journalism program this past semester, where she took two classes at GWU and had an internship with the Department of the Interior. This summer, she’ll be taking two summer classes and working long-distance with her boss in DC to finalize her project.

Garrott will also be working with WordPress to promote her personal brand, something she spent a lot of time talking about in DC. “I’m adding every video I’ve ever contributed or produced, every filmed interview, and all of my professional and published photographs…along with every article I’ve written for The Cluster,” she said. She hopes to work with FinalCutPro to improve her editing skills, something she wants to bring to the table when she assumes her position as online editor for The Cluster in the fall.

Garrott hopes to spend time studying other social marketing sites and what makes them so popular so that she can learn how to better market herself.

Junior Chelsey McDade will be working in the south of Spain this summer with missionaries who work with refugees coming from Africa. She is going on the trip with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a nonprofit organization that raises money to send missionaries around the United States and the world. She learned about the program from her father, who works for the CBF.

McDade said she has always loved mission work and Spain and has been looking for an opportunity like this for a long time. Although she is nervous about being out of the country alone for two months, McDade is excited to go and to hopefully perfect her Spanish.

As a Global Health major, junior Amiee Frutchey, who plans to get a master’s degree as a physician’s assistant, has been accepted as a Global Health Fellow intern for Unite For Sight, a nonprofit organization that supports eye clinics worldwide. For the internship, Frutchey will be volunteering in Ghana, Africa, working directly with patients in the field.

Frutchey will spend a month of her summer assisting eye clinics to screen for eye disease, implementing education programs and coordinating sight-restoring surgery for children and adults. Three days a week, she will travel to remote villages with local eye doctors to screen as many as 600 children and families for diseases related to eye care.

To prepare for the trip, Frutchey has raised $1,700 that goes directly to funding surgeries and ensuring no one remains blind due to lack of funds. She has also collected 500 eyeglasses that she will be bringing to donate.

Frutchey said she is extremely proud to be a Unite For Sight volunteer.

If these students’ stories have inspired you to spice up your summer, allow me to make a recommendation. It is possibly too late to sign up for most of these trips, but I cannot stress highly enough how absolutely mindblowingly amazing Mercer on Mission is. If you can’t go this summer, go next summer. Seriously. Best thing you’ll ever do.

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