Student Profile: A question and answer session with Emily Barry
Q&A By Albert Raboteau
A donor's generosity made it possible for master's candidate Emily Barry to organize a service learning project in Honduras for students in the University Honors program. Her work on that project is one reason Barry won a Boren Fellowship for international study and was named to the second team of USA Today’s All-USA College Academic Team.
What inspired you in service-oriented work and international development?
A class offered though the honors program called “Living Through the Ut Prosim Tradition of Service” truly inspired my passion for international development. The Honduras community partnership I initiated as a final project for this class showed me how to connect my love of international cultures with my passion for sustainable community work.
How has your experience at Virginia Tech helped prepare you to work in that field?.
I have had the opportunity to create my own unique college experience by grounding theoretical understanding in experiential learning abroad.
Describe your recent project in El Porvenir, Honduras.
I returned to El Porvenir, Honduras, for a third time this summer. Seven Virginia Tech undergraduate students with a variety of majors accompanied me. We partnered with community groups to help these groups build capacity within their existing social programs.
Private giving helped make your project possible. What would you say to someone who was considering making a donation to help students do service projects abroad?
A Virginia Tech alumnus provided the seed funding to start my program. The impact of these funds continues to grow as students in my group find a vocation in using their field of study to live through Virginia Tech's "Ut Prosim" tradition of service. A small amount of funding catalyzes a huge impact.
What projects are next for you?
There are new leaders for the Honduras program, so I will be focusing my efforts during the fall semester on creating and fundraising for a new social entrepreneurship program. This program is an effort through the Virginia Tech Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships. It will give students a classroom setting through which to be leaders, conduct research, and create programs that link their field of study to service for the greater good.
This article will appear in an upcoming issue of Impact Magazine.