Brueggeman Fellows present research

By: Justin Worthing ~Staff Writer~

Xavier-sponsored international travelers returned to their point of origin on Feb. 20 to share stories of their adventures with their peers and professors.

Eight Brueggeman Fellows, who each received a $3,000 travel grant from the Brueggeman Center, met in Kennedy Auditorium to discuss their travels and research around the world.

Senior Kevin Perkins presented first, discussing his research on EcoHealth, or the relationship between ecosystems and human health. He travelled to Benin in West Africa to work with a group of researchers studying Buruli ulcers.

Alumna Becky Seipel then shared her experiences in South Africa, with Jesuit Refugee Services. Seipel currently works with refugees at Catholic Charities, and she said her time in Johannesburg, South Africa helps her better understand her current clients and see where they are coming from.

Graduate student Rachel Snodgrass recalled her experiences of studying the effects of occupational therapy (OT) on rehabilitation in British women’s prisons. She discussed the flaws in the prison system and how OT can help with rehabilitation by providing positive skills and healthy therapeutic outlets for prisoners.

Alum Maggie Cooley played a video recalling her time observing the relationship between health and inequality in India. Inspired by Dr. Paul Farmer, she visited Hyderabad and Kolkata – Mother Teresa’s former place of ministry – to look at the social factors of healthcare.
Alum and former Newswire Photography Editor Andrew Matsushita displayed photos from his travels in New Orleans and Japan, looking at the different ways individualist and collectivist cultures respond to natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and the Japanese tsunami.

Senior Kayla Boehner shared her plans to study brain drain in East Africa, focusing on the small number of medical students that remain in their home country following graduation. She was unable to go last summer, however, because of political turmoil in the area.

Graduate Genevieve Hager looked at Alzheimer’s disease research in the United States and Sweden and the differences between the two nations’ healthcare systems. Hager also met with many different Alzheimer’s researchers in Europe, including the most prolific Alzheimer’s researcher in the world.

Alum Spencer Liechty concluded with a video about his research from Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and other countries, to discover how democracy works in an Islamic context. He concluded that there are instances in which Islam and democracy are compatible, but not necessarily by all Muslim interpretations.