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Annie Richards, a junior global health and biochemistry major, spent the summer of 2013 in India as an intern for the International Alliance for the Prevention of AIDS.
She travelled for two months to classrooms in southern India to teach AIDS awareness and prevention to eighth-graders and freshmen five days a week.
This was both her first internship and her first time travelling internationally.
“This opportunity really sparked my interest for global medicine. It gave me a better understanding of my major and why it’s important to the world,” Annie said
The internship also put Annie into some challenging situations. Annie recalled traveling to a village in which a resident had committed suicide. “They were hospitable even though the whole community was affected,” she said.
Through her internship, Annie realized her work encouraging healthful behavior among young people would have a positive future impact, but it would not help those already grappling with AIDS or living in poverty.
“The hardest part was realizing that HIV is a lifelong illness,” Annie said. “I just wanted to let them know how sorry I am and how hard it is.”
Annie currently is a research assistant at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in the HIV Clinic and a volunteer at Help, a homeless shelter than rotates to different churches. She is also an Honors Devil and a Community Assistant.