Jiyeong "Faith" Park ’16 is a service trip leader, first-year mentor, global ambassador and member of Wheel & Chain and Dickinson Christian Fellowship. While studying abroad in Cameroon last year, she conducted research on global public health. Learn about her passion for that work and her experiences developing her own major in that field, her ideal dinner companion and more.
Global health (self-developed).
Clubs and organizations:
Dickinson Christian Fellowship, Dana Research Assistantship, first-year mentor program, Center for Global Study & Engagement (global ambassador), service trips (coordinator/leader), Office of Residence Life (house and apartment manager) and Wheel & Chain.
John Montgomery Scholarship, Amy Snow Prize and Dean’s List.
On choosing a major:
I came to Dickinson with a strong interest in public health. I wanted to better understand the complexity of health through self-developing an interdisciplinary major that will allow me to explore different dimensions of health in global contexts. This was possible through a wide range of classes across disciplines that Dickinson offers in the health field. My major focuses on intersectionality between public health and international development, studying public health issues in developing countries with a specific focus in sub-Saharan Africa. (Special thanks to Dr. Brenda Bretz and the All-College Committee on Academic Program and Standards; I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had here at Dickinson to pursue a self-developed major that has allowed me to deepen my knowledge in the topic I am passionate about.)
On studying abroad:
I studied abroad in Yaoundé, Cameroon, last spring. Every day in Yaoundé was full of adventures and learning experiences as a foreigner. My francophone host family helped me to integrate into the Cameroonian culture. I felt like an adopted member of the Temgoua family; they exposed me to different aspects of Cameroonian culture, from chores to a wedding ceremony. I was able to have many deep and honest conversations with my siblings about challenging aspects of cultures. I received so much hospitality and felt very welcomed everywhere I went. I grew immensely as a person while learning something new every day. My experience in Cameroon pushed me to be more independent and open-minded. I still think about Cameroon every single day, and it felt like going back home when I went back this past January as a service trip leader.
I first met [Associate] Professor [of International Business & Management] David Sarcone when I took his Introduction to Health Studies course my freshman year, which inspired me to self-design my major. He played an instrumental role in helping me put together my self-developed major and has been the best advisor any student could ask for. I’ve taken four health studies classes with him; I admire his experience and intelligence in the health field as well as his sense of humor in classroom settings. We also spent time together outside the classroom through the U.S.-Japan Scholars program and research assistantships (I’ve been his research assistant for his rural health care grants). We work together well, and he shows me that he believes in my abilities. He also challenges me to think more critically while providing so much support. He is very hardworking and is invested in his students. He is my father figure at Dickinson.
As a Princeton in Africa fellow, I will be working with Population Services International (PSI) in Johannesburg, South Africa for a year. After gaining few years of work experience, I plan to go to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in public health.
As a kid, I wanted to be …
… a doctor who served internationally. However, once I was exposed to public health in high school, there was no turning back.
If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …
… [physician/anthropologist/author/educator/humanitarian] Paul Farmer, at a local restaurant in Haiti. I honestly think that we can spend countless hours talking about our shared passion in global health, and I would love to hear all about his fascinating life stories.
My family has always been extremely tight-knit, loving and supportive. I still vividly remember many moments from my childhood filled with laughter and quality family time, which may account for my naturally bubbly personality. When I was young, my parents emphasized the importance of treating others with love and respect, and they lived by that example. My younger sisters always have been my annoying, but truthful, best friends. My father’s optimism, my mother’s thoughtfulness, Ahyeong’s genuineness and Alice’s maturity—and all of their faith—inspire me to be a better person every day.
About my research:
When I studied abroad in Cameroon, I conducted two field research projects in maternal health for my senior capstone. These were supported by the SIRF (Student International Research Fund) Grant from Global Study & Engagement and the Community-Based Field Research Grant from the Community Studies Center. For the first project, I collected data through surveys and interviews to study the attitudes, knowledge and perception on family planning and contraception among Cameroonian women in urban and rural areas. The second research project was conducted in a rural village, where about 60 percent of the families practiced polygamy. In this village, oral life histories were conducted to learn about the life of Cameroonian women in polygamous marriage and how family planning and contraception are perceived among this population. Through this research, I was able to apply the experience, knowledge and skills I gained at Dickinson in Cameroon; I also was able to deepen my connection with Cameroonian culture and people. I learned the critical importance of adaptability, flexibility and patience and the need to respect the limits imposed by different cultural norms.
Published May 18, 2016