kha student spotlights

Markeya Menefee

KHA student Markeya Menefee

In the summer of 2017, Markeya had the opportunity to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Minority Research (SUMR) Program through the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. The focus of the program was to encourage undergraduate students to explore health services research. To gain exposure to the field, she was paired with two mentors and worked on two research projects throughout the course of the summer.

The first project, with Dr. Lewis as a mentor, focused on hypertensive black men and their perceptions of genetic testing and the feasibility and acceptability to provide DNA samples that would be analyzed at a later date. The second project, with Dr. Kevin Ahmad Jenkins as a mentor, looked to interpret attitudes of minorities in medicine and how perceived race is a better measure for race in medicine than self-identified race. If nothing else, Markeya learned that there are different fields of research that need to be explored other than the basic sciences and that there are health disparities and social determinants of health and healthcare that need to be addressed.

Arynn Pratt

KHA student Arynn PrattIn the summer of 2017, Arynn was rewarded the opportunity to participate in the Developing Researchers who Improve Healthcare Equity (DRIVE) internship at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital. Arynn was the other freshman selected to participate in the pilot year of this internship among a pool of graduate and undergraduate students across the United States. Through this opportunity, she was immersed in knowledge about the many experiences that she will be exposed to in her career as a healthcare professional. She not only acquired knowledge about diabetes, but also social determinants of health, the ins and outs of the healthcare system, and how to conduct research.

As part of her internship, Arynn developed a research project pertaining to health disparities and presented her research to a panel of doctors, pharmacists, and public health professionals. She also participated in community service where she was able to be an advocate for the elderly living in senior centers and conduct blood pressure screening. Arynn was granted the opportunity to continue working at Thomas Jefferson during the semester and to volunteer at a local methadone clinic, which was significant due to her future ambitions of becoming a psychiatrist. 

Meghan Sowersby
KHA student Meghan Sowersby

Meghan was selected as 1 of 10 students in the nation for the inaugural year of the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Minority Serving Institutions and the Center on International Educational Exchange. She received an all-inclusive scholarship to study abroad for a month in London, England during the summer of 2017.

Selected in the namesake of exemplary orator and leader, Meghan participated in a class on Intercultural Communication and Leadership during her study abroad. During this time, she was able to expand her cultural perspectives, make lasting international connections and network with other Historically Black College & University (HBCU) campus leaders. Meghan served as an ambassador at the London Embassy of the United States, studied the culture of Afro-Caribbean descendants in the United Kingdom, and traveled to Northern Ireland to engage in conversation with Irish Members of Parliament.

The Frederick Douglass Global Fellows were joined by HBCU Presidents’ Dr. Mildred Garcia (California State University, Fullerton) and David Wilson (Morgan State University). They were also honored to be joined by Nettie Washington Douglass, the great-great granddaughter of both Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass.

Following her study abroad experience, Meghan continues to honor the legacy of Mr. Douglass by serving as a global ambassador back home at Cheyney University, where she serves as an advocate for study abroad, particularly for minority students. While at Cheyney, she facilitated The Sky’s the Limit: How to Find, Secure, and Make the Most of Study Abroad student-to-student workshop. She hopes to expose minority students to the opportunities available to them to become representatives of the capable HBCU students on the global stage.