Victoria Bresnahan – General Assignment Reporter
Although Pam Solis, a senior public health major, does not remember much of her time in the Philippines, she said she hopes to return there someday and bring better healthcare.
“I wanted to do something about how to improve the overall health of people,” said Solis. “I wanted to incorporate medicine in it.”
Solis, a native of the Philippines, immigrated to America with her family in 2002—she is about one year away from receiving her citizenship. Growing up in a third world country, Solis said the poverty level got to her.
Upon graduation, Solis would like to work in third world countries, specifically the Philippines. After returning to her native country when Typhoon Haiyan struck, Solis said she learned how natural disasters can affect people’s health.
“I was in a region that wasn’t really hit,” said Solis. “[That following] fall I took my environmental hazards course and did my project on [the typhoon]. I didn’t realize [it brought] tuberculosis [and] malaria rampant around.”
With her public health degree, Solis said she wants to focus on emerging and infectious diseases. A microbiology course she took sparked her interest in pathogens and the spread of disease, she said.
“I thought it was something more interesting,” said Solis, “like something more to do. I like laboratories and stuff. I am a hands-on person.”
Over time, Solis became accustomed to America’s environment and now struggles understanding her parents when they speak to her in their native tongue.
“Everyone here in America wants to be on their own type of thing,” said Solis. “I saw in the Philippines it’s a family. Our aunts [and] uncles literally live with the grandparents, the kids–my family’s house would literally be like, ‘Here’s my grandparent’s house, my aunt’s and uncle’s house,’ and it would literally be a walk.”
Solis recently travelled to Portugal with the university choir. Since high school, Solis has been interested in numerous activities such as sports, theater and music. In the spring of 2015, Solis joined the university choir after deciding she wanted to continue singing throughout college.
“In Portugal, I was kind of expecting that schedule of nightly rehearsals,” said Solis. “But, surprisingly, it was kind of a laid-back trip, which threw me off a little bit. It was really nice.”
The choir sang at three concerts, one of which was performed solely by the Southern group alone.
Prior to beginning her collegiate career, Solis said she wanted to be a graphic design major and was interested in attending the Paier College of Art. However, after visiting it, she realized she did not like the small school setting.
“When I first drove to go look for colleges, I was like ‘Wow, [I am] super excited to go,’” said Solis. “I saw Southern and I was like, ‘I want to go here.’”
Solis said she did not enjoy her first two years at the school; however, after getting involved with clubs and groups, her opinion changed. She joined the Student Government Association and hall council, both of which “got her foot in the door.”
“That kind of got me into the whole putting myself out there more,” said Solis, “to try to make the most out of my college experience.”
Life does not have to fit someone needs, she said; rather, one’s college experience is what they make of it.
“I’m kind of sad graduating,” said Solis, “but I am excited to see what life has in store for me next.”
Photo Credit: Victoria Bresnahan