Italian major Allison Dumitriu Carcoana recently won a Library Research Award in the Population Health category for her paper, "Integration Trumps Alienation." Allison, who just finished her freshman year at UW and is studying pre-med in addition to Italian, has volunteered tutoring Somali children in the Seattle area. This helped inspire her paper, which explores the mitigating effect of integration programs (such as sports, clubs and language courses) on mental illnesses from which many Somali immigrants suffer. Here is what Allison shared about her award-winning essay:
"My paper is about the mental illnesses that many Somali immigrants suffer upon coming to the United States, and how programs that help them integrate into American society including language learning programs, multi-racial team sports, and common interest clubs in the Seattle community, aid in the healing from the trauma of acculturation that they experience from their transition. It relates to my professional interests because mental health is a very important part of healthcare, which is often misunderstood. There have been a lot of Somali communities in Seattle who have written papers asking for more community organizations to serve their children and future generations so that they may be successful and prosper in American society. I wrote this paper after tutoring Somali children in the Seattle area through one such organization, and saw how much they appreciated it, but the number of children on the waitlist was astounding. There is so much more we can do for each other as a community, locally and nationally; all we have to do is listen to those who ask. I would be interested in expanding this research to include other populations of immigrants who might benefit from multi-ethnic team sports, language learning programs, and acculturation support groups."
In addition to her studies at the UW, Allison is dedicated to serving the on- and off-campus community: she will be the 2017-2018 Italian Club President and is the Vice President of UW Love Club (dedicated to mindfulness, meditation, and self-love). Currently, she is pursuing a healthcare fellowship in Montevideo, Uruguay, helping children who are suffering from cancer. Allison is also passionate about marine environmentalism: she is a certified coral reef conservationist and SCUBA diver.