Skip to Content



Emily Woods

Class of: 2013
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
School: Arts and Science
Major(s): Global and Community Health

During her first year at Vanderbilt, Emily was involved in an array of organizations on campus. She was challenged and inspired through her experiences volunteering with the American Red Cross, teaching nutrition classes through the Siloam Healthcare Center, mentoring a senior girl for the ACT/SAT tests with Vanderbilt Students to Students, and participating in other service opportunities. However, she was most impacted by her involvement with Vanderbilt Grassroots. Through this organization, Emily served ex-convicts at a transitional home called the Dismas House, helping cook weekly dinners as well as organize education and employment initiatives for residents.

The summer after freshman year, Emily spent eight weeks serving with an anti-human trafficking organization called Rahab’s Rope. She spent two weeks creating media and awareness resources about sex-trafficking, and she spent six weeks in India with victims of forced prostitution. While in India, she assisted in aftercare programs for rescued women, and started Bloom, a two-year long nutrition and hygiene program for nearly thirty women. In July, Emily spent three weeks at a hospital in Kapsowar, Kenya, serving the African people on her family’s seventh medical mission trip to the continent.

As a sophomore, Emily continued to pursue her passion for fighting sex trafficking and volunteered on the college action committee for End Slavery TN, an organization that fights human trafficking on local, national, and international levels. She also developed a mentoring relationship with a teenage girl at McMurray middle school and tutored her in English and math.  In addition, she served on the board of Vanderbilt Grassroots and joined the board for the Center for Community Health Solutions (CHS).

During her first semester junior year, Emily studied abroad in South Africa at the University of Cape Town, taking classes on social psychology, history, and community development. While in Cape Town, she volunteered in medical clinics as well as mentoring programs for middle school students in the townships. After returning to Vanderbilt in the spring, Emily started volunteering at the Tennessee Valley Veterans Hospital and continued to play an active role on the board of the CHS. For her 2012 summer project, Emily collaborated with fellow Ingram scholar Elin Bunch to write the Fingerprints Leadership Training Curriculum that empowers and equips youth to lead and serve people in their communities. Emily worked with Grab the Torch Camps and piloted the curriculum with nearly forty high school kids in Colorado and Connecticut. At the end of the summer, Emily spent two weeks in Nicaragua with Amigos for Christ, engaging in community health work in a rural village.

As a senior, Emily will serve as the vice president of Vanderbilt Grassroots and oversee projects that alleviate poverty and fight injustice in Nashville. She will also serve on the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health’s Student Advisory Council and help organize the Global Health Case Competition. Additionally, she will continue to be an active board member for the CHS, serve as a member of the 30/30 Leadership Council for Grab the Torch, and connect with youth-centered organizations to share the Fingerprints Leadership Training Curriculum.