Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Jamie Fry Final Blog Pic

Jamie Fry

2nd Year MPH Epidemiology Student

I sincerely thank my classmates–particularly my key informant group partners. This was easily the best collaborative experience I have ever had. Before this trip, I had limited experience presenting my work. I would fill my slideshows with excess information and later present it by reading entirely verbatim. My approach was rooted in anxiety. I feared I would stumble over my words or simply just forget everything if I didn't have a script. For this project, my team members preferred cleaner, more concise slides (which looked significantly better than my typical style). The slides were less text-heavy and, as a result, required me to become less dependent on them when presenting. Funny enough, I realized how familiar I was with our findings that I didn't need to rely on the slides. I gained a sense of confidence and comfortability in a skill I previously lacked: public speaking.

Beyond the professional relationships I developed with my classmates, I formed genuine friendships. I likely would not have had the chance to connect with many of them if it weren't for this trip. While we shared a lot of laughter (I mean a LOT… I cried at least three times from laughing so hard), we also shared many heartfelt moments. Thank you to those who shared personal stories with me and allowed me to do the same with you.

Most importantly, thank you to the South-Central Area Health Education Center for trusting us with the Community Engagement Alliance project! We received the warmest welcome into your community. One of my favorite moments of the week was at the Mexican Mother's Day celebration. We helped community members create bath salts, sugar scrubs, and oils to show our appreciation. At the end of the event, one of the ladies walked around to hug every single one of us and express her gratitude. Her kindness accurately represents the Southern hospitality we received throughout our week in San Antonio. No words can fully express my gratitude for this opportunity. All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you.