Each month, END7 honors one student who has made a significant contribution to our growing movement of student advocates dedicated to seeing the end of NTDs. We are very proud to introduce our November 2015 Student of the Month, Jessica Ellis, a sophomore biology major at the University of Texas at Austin. Jessica is the president of END7 at UT and a member of the END7 Student Advisory Board. She shares:
“I discovered END7 at UT during my freshman year, the day that I quit the track team and was frantically looking for new activities to get involved in at a campus organization fair. Right away, I was hooked by the idea of ending seven diseases, and was blown away by the statistics about NTDs and developments in the control and elimination effort that I learned about at END7 meetings. The scale of this effort and potential for transformation of entire communities through disease elimination fit with my view of – and hopes for – the world.
“By the end of my freshman year, I knew that my involvement in global health and NTDs couldnt just be an extracurricular activity for me. I wanted to do as much as I could for this cause as a student, and hopefully someday make it my career. So, it’s been really exciting to serve as the president of END7 at UT and as an END7 Student Advisory Board representative this year.
“In October, I had was given the incredible opportunity to travel to Philadelphia to attend the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) annual conference with the support of a scholarship from the END7 campaign. I got to hear presentations by NTD experts from all over the world at the event, and left the “NTD bubble” I had been immersed in for three days excited to communicate this information back on campus. I shared much of the new information I learned a talk I gave at an event hosted by UT student organization Advocates for Awareness, trying to instill the sense of urgency and excitement around this cause that I took away from my time with the powerful global health community that I met in Philadelphia.
“It was definitely a busy fall semester for END7 at UT. We hosted two new (and hopefully annual!) events on campus. We held an evening advocacy event – lit by candles, Christmas lights, and the iconic UT Tower – and collected more than 100 messages from students urging the UN to prioritize NTDs in the Sustainable Development Goals with a target and indicator. We also organized a variety of student organizations from across the UT campus to come together and fundraise for non-profits on Giving Tuesday. I cant wait to see what these events turn into over the next few years. Next semester, we are looking forward to hosting our annual benefit concert – a must for any non-profit hoping to fundraise in music-loving Austin!”
We are so grateful for Jessica’s commitment to the fight against NTDs, and we are excited to see our involved in END7’s work, contact the END7’s student outreach coordinator at Emily.Conron@sabin.org to learn how you can get started!