Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Sociology & Anthropology

Letters from Alumni

Letters from Alumni

Alumni who wish to write open letters for the website can contact Dr. Sandi Nenga or any department faculty. Be sure to specify that we have your permission to post a letter on the website. For a list of department and alumni and their contact information, please visit the Alumni Directory.

Ella Ewart ('00), Anthropology

Dear friends and family,

I'm off to jail and South America, but hopefully not jail in South America. The whirlwind that I've been calling my life lately has left me with flying carpet dreams and my mom anxiously telling me stories about being strip-searched in Columbia by paramilitary in the 1970's, but I do love adventures.

I'll still be in New York through summer 2006, working at a new job for the City doing public health research at Riker's Island, New York City's prison. My job is do research to improve health conditions in prisons and by extension the communities where prisoners live after they're released. The projects are very exciting and include STD prevention, domestic violence screening, and maternal/child health for new moms who are incarcerated and whose infant children are housed at the on-site nursery.

In September 2006, I'll be going to Peru with Peace Corps. I'll leave from Austin on September 20th. I have been thinking of joining the Peace Corps for more than 10 years and it finally it seemed like the right time. I'll be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru for 27 months, so I finish December 2008. I'll be 30! Eek! I don't know where in Peru I'll be living, but I'll be helping with public health outreach and education programs working with a local agency. I'm not sure what my projects will be like, but commonly PCV's work is related to maternal/child health, women's health, nutrition issues, and hygiene education for children. By July 2007 I'll be really lonely, tired of purifying my water, and ready to talk to someone who also appreciates a good pedicure.

Love Always, Ella

Narda Hernandez ('06), Sociology


I hope you are well. I have now returned from Paysandu, Uruguay, from the north, and I have a bit of news. The 2nd Social Forum for Uruguayan Health was a very valuable experience where I was able to exchange ideas to resolve the current health and environmental challenges of Uruguay with the help of initiatives and perspectives given by invited guests from Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Bolivia (1 guest each). I had the opportunity to make great contacts and dialogue with people from Bella Union, Artigas where I am going next weekend with the Ministry of Public Health and I took all their info. They will be waiting to see us there! In addition, there was a Uruguayan doctor that studied in Cuba at the Latinamerican School of Medicine (ELAM). Now because of a contest held by the MPH for doctors he is working at a health clinic in Bella Union. After we met, he invited me to go to work with his team to conduct a investigative study because he is fighting with the MPH and the Emergency Health Plan to urgently open up an equipped clinic. He even drew the blueprints/plans to facilitate the process.

I also met some nurses and health promoters that are working and living with the Barrio Las Laminas in Las Piedras near Bella Union, Artigas. I told them that I would like to interview these women, the patients, and the adolescents that are now health promoters as well. I also made a meeting to talk with U.T.A.A. (The Union of Sugarcaneworkers of Artigas), because Bella Union's economy strictly depends on the production of sugar. This project is one that I would like to take on before I go back to the States in March. So, I came right away to write to my coworker at the MPH to ask if he could help provide travel assistance for the 5 doctors that I stayed with at the forum because I think that it would be a very neat experience for them to know their country and perhaps work there for a bit. A lot of Uruguayans do not get the opportunity to travel in that direction and many prefer to spend their time in the south and the interior.
Los quiero muchisimo.

Cheers, Narda