Until her last week of high school, Cherie was convinced that she was filled with divergent passions in service with no way to connect the dots. Medicine seemed the natural choice because it represented a complete commitment to serving others. However, Cherie also felt a strong devotion to development in the Middle East, she just didn’t know if she could link this interest to medicine. Cherie found her answer in her county commissioner who practiced more than just politics. He was also a doctor both locally and abroad as a military surgeon and yet still found time to devote to a very different love for politics. Cherie quickly realized that it was possible to merge her two passions together, practicing medicine both here and abroad and working through medicine to foster development.
Cherie started at Vanderbilt with Unite for Sight, an organization dedicated to eradicating preventable blindness. Locally, she has administered vision screenings throughout Nashville, while globally she has helped run an eyeglass collection drive and raise money for UFS’ cataract surgeries. She became the organization’s Community Outreach Chair and has since collaborated with Vanderbilt Medical School’s Shade Tree Clinic and Prevent Blindness Tennessee on vision programs. While working on these programs, she has even had the opportunity to provide translational services for recent immigrants from Egypt.
During her sophomore year, she founded Hands Along the Nile Development Services (HANDS), the first college chapter of the US based nonprofit which promotes intercultural understanding and sustainable development led by the Egyptian people. Within their first year HANDS raised enough money to support ten children living in “Garbage City” to leave their workshops and reenroll in school. HANDS’ work is not limited to Egypt; Cherie has also worked with Vanderbilt professors to establish a partnership between Vanderbilt and Jordan University to address the state of Arab healthcare.
During the summer of her sophomore year, Cherie traveled to Egypt to research the efficacy of the Egyptian healthcare system and to work with phenomenal nonprofits in the Cairo area. There she realized her plan to extend the Cairo study abroad program beyond the classroom by allowing students to volunteer and intern with notable Egyptian NGOs.
Cherie is very honored to join the Ingram scholars and hopes that she can always continue to “connect the dots” between her two very different passions in service.