I am so excited to have been selected for this amazing humanitarian trip by the Oticon Hearing Foundation and the American Academy of Audiology! What is even more exciting is that my wonderful professor and mentor, Dr. Lindsay Bondurant, was also selected! Initially, we thought that we were selected to go together by a joint committee, but come to find out, we were chosen independently by two different committees. Illinois State University is very proud of us, and our department has been so supportive. My professors and clinical supervisors have been very accommodating, allowing me to miss class and clinic while I will be in Brazil.
I feel very lucky to have Dr. Bondurant helping me prepare for this trip. We have been meeting regularly to plan. We have applied for our visas, gotten our immunizations (malaria, yellow fever, typhoid), and picked up extra needed supplies and gifts. Dr. Bondurant is a master packer and managed to fit all the hearing aids, batteries, and additional supplies into her suitcase and backpack. Only a few things needed to go into my backpack. I hope she has enough clothes! My suitcase was jam packed, and I didn’t have any supplies in it!
I love being involved with my local SAA chapter and the Special Olympics Healthy Hearing initiative in Bloomington, IL, but I have never participated in a humanitarian mission like this one. I am sure that this will be an extremely rewarding and fulfilling experience!