This is a love story, really. Her sophomore year, William and Mary biology major Jenn Guyant fell in love on Spring Break. She knew it wasn't going to be easy, logistically or emotionally, to make it work in the future, but it was love and she was going to try. Her love? Africa.
Guyant went on a service trip with the AIDS Tanzania organization, and in only a short week was inspired by the projects in public health she saw there. The organization, of which Guyant is now president, has two goals: working towards AIDS education in Tanzania during the service trips and secondly, raising awareness here on campus about the crisis of HIV/AIDS in Africa.
"Tanzania has the longest history of AIDS," Guyant said, "The disease originally spread along the road from Lake Victoria to Dar e Salaam." The group is planning a second trip to Tanzania, this time taking between 10-14 students during the winter break. Guyant insisted that there was still time for interested people to get involved in the project.
Since falling in love with Africa, Guyant has tailored her previously vague career plans to take her back. Doubling her biology major with International Relations made sense because "When I find a career, I want to do something in international public health," she said. In the short term she's hoping to get involved with a research project this semester studying migration due to AIDS in Tanzania. Long term? "I'm planning to go to medical school," Guyant said, "Someday I want to run a clinic in Africa."
Although it may seem like two majors and coordinating a trip to Africa would be enough to keep one William and Mary junior busy, Guyant's still got free time. She's also a member of the Women's Ultimate Frisbee Team, the Mother Huckers. "Ultimate saves my soul," she said, "Practice and tournaments are fun and keep me in shape." She works at the Green Leafe for some extra funds, and spends her remaining time surfing, reading, and playing outside or at the beach.
She's confident that she's making the most of her William and Mary experience. To other students seeking to do the same, she advised, "Take advantage of the liberal arts education here; take random classes just because they sound cool to you." Her favorite so far in the biology department has been the 204 lab, highlighted by the chance to chase down birds at Prof. Beck's house on a field trip. Relieved to have taken the MCATs this summer, she's hoping to distract herself from nervously waiting for her score by having a busy and exciting junior year.