Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

GW Students Close to Completing Harvard Program

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

GW Students Close to Completing Harvard Program

Article excerpt

Three George Washington High School students are close to completing a Public Health program with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. During the 2014-2015 school year, Arka Gupta, his twin brother Drew Gupta, and Lexi Mallory were one of five winning teams chosen in Harvard's Emergency Preparedness High School Video Contest. The team's success has allowed them to complete an in- depth, two-part program led by the Ivy League school. The program will conclude with an awards ceremony in September.

At the time they entered the contest, the three juniors, now seniors, were enrolled in an AP capstone course. In the fall of 2014, Elena Savoia, a researcher for the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, visited the high school, where she talked to the AP capstone students about public health and the video contest.

The three said they were inspired by Savoia, and immediately started brainstorming video ideas. They chose to focus on how to handle disabilities and language barriers during disaster situations.

"Our video worked with how to communicate with family during disaster. We wanted to focus on those who are bilingual, because there's a disparity with language and disabilities [when it comes to public health], Arka Gupta said.

He added, "She [the speaker] hinted that some people cannot speak English, so that's where the inspiration came from.

Keeping minorities in mind was important to the group, Mallory said.

"We can't only keep healthy people safe. Some people don't get the message. It's prudent to help the vulnerable population in times of need, Drew Gupta said.

The project was due in early December 2014 and took roughly two weeks to plan. During the video process, the Guptas took an international family vacation and decided to do some research while abroad.

"During the video project, my brother and I went to Switzerland and India and interviewed people. We got a lot of rejection, but people who did the videos gave us good information, Drew said.

Arka added, "Through this project, we learned about other perspectives, and what it's like to get into the shoes of others when thinking about communication and public health. …

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