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Research That Makes a Difference

Carol Fadalla '18 in India, where she conducted research and served a public-health internship.

Carol Fadalla '18 in India, where she conducted research and did a public-health internship.

Carol Fadalla ’18

Carol Fadalla ’18 grew up in New York, the daughter a single mother who came to the U.S. from Cairo, Egypt, setting a lifelong example of what it means to be a strong, globally minded woman. During her junior year, Carol followed suit when she conducted original independent research in India and followed it up with a summer internship in that country. Below, she discusses her study abroad experience, her proudest accomplishment and her passion for providing health services to refugee and immigrant communities.

Major

Psychology.

Clubs and organizations:

Psychology Club, Dream Catchers, the Center for Service, Spirituality & Social Justice and Anwar Belly Dance Group.

Honors/scholarships/awards:

Psi Chi International Society of Psychology and Posse Foundation Scholarship.

Favorite books:

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and The Stranger by Albert Camus.

On choosing a major:  

At first, I thought that I wanted to major in biology. My sophomore year, I enrolled in Cross-Cultural Psychology to fill my distribution requirement, and I ended up loving the class. The best part about psychology is that it allows me to study and learn about different aspects of human nature, all while using empirical methods. During my cross-cultural class, I was able to understand how different cultures evolve, process information and love. That year, I decided to declare a major in psychology. Now I am interested in learning about mental illnesses and how they manifest in different cultures.

Favorite place on campus:

Rector. It’s open all night, which makes it the best studying place for me.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Salmon at the Dining Hall is hands down the best!

On studying abroad:

For my junior year, I studied abroad in India through an SIT [School for International Training] program called Public Health, Advocacy and Community. This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career. One highlight has to be the Independent Study Project (ISP), a research project conducted solely by students according to their specific interests. This was the first time during the program when I was fully independent, miles away from my host family, in Maharashtra.

It was my first time conducting research solely on my own and my first time conducting research in a country where I did not speak the language. (I worked with local translators, and they really helped me transcribed my questions to Marathi. However, I did learn some conversational Hindi that came in handy when I was in Delhi.) This experience helped me develop a greater appreciation for field researchers, allowed me to establish my confidence maneuvering cross-cultural environments and gave me a firsthand understanding of the mental health issues in the area.                                                                                                                                                         

As I kid, I wanted to be …

… a forensic scientist, because I was obsessed with the show Bones.

Post-Dickinson plans:

My dream is earning my Ph.D. in clinical psychology to work with refugee and immigrant communities in the United States. As someone who comes from an immigrant family, I am very passionate about providing mental health services to refugee and immigrant communities in which people experience an array of disadvantages and adverse circumstances.

Proudest accomplishment: 

Receiving the Posse Scholarship. It was one of the most nerve-racking processes I’ve experienced—and also the most rewarding.

Biggest influence:

My mom. As a single immigrant mother [from Cairo, Egypt], she has gone through so many hardships trying to raise me on her own. She is my biggest role model, and I admire her strength and resilience. Throughout her life, she has made countless sacrifices to ensure that I am able to receive an education and become successful, and for that I owe everything to her.

About my internship:

I interned at the Comprehensive Rural Health Project (CRHP) located in Maharashtra, India. CRHP is an NGO that empowers marginalized people to positively impact the health and well-being of their communities in rural India. During this internship, I understood the value of giving a community the agency to determine their health priorities and having NGOs work alongside community members, as opposed to having specialists and professionals determine the needs of the community. Additionally, this internship helped shed light on the various health issues facing the rural community in Maharashtra and how often healthcare initiatives and programs leave out the rural community. As someone who is planning on pursuing the healthcare field, these lessons will help me as I continue to learn about health globally and domestically. 

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:  

That it is OK to make mistakes and to fail. Failure is not the be-all, end-all. [Before learning this,] my fear of failure was so great that I found myself being my biggest enemy, not going for opportunities simply because I was afraid. I have now realized that being open to mistakes and failure has boosted my self-confidence and has allowed me to become more open to opportunities.

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Published October 3, 2017