Reprinted from Macalester Today, Fall 2007
Editor’s Note: In 2009 Hedin won a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholarship, which provides up to $50,000 per year as she completes her master’s degree in International Development at Oxford University.
WHILE MAKING UP only 1percent of the states population, African-born people represent close to 20 percent of HIV/AIDS cases in Minnesota,” says Emily Hedin ’07 (Hopkins, Minn.) “They are also among the least likely to seek help coping with the disease.
Those facts helped Hedin decide how she could work locally to impact a global problem—the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Hedin proposed ro forge a connection between Open Arms of Minnesota and organizations serving A frican-born people of Minnesota, and she was awarded a Phillips Scholarship to carry out her project. Open Arms serves nutritious meals to those living with HIV/AIDS (and several other diseases), and Phillips Scholarships support the development of service projects in Minnesota communities.
Competition is stiff for the six annually awarded Phillips Scholar- ships, which provide up to $14,000.
Hedin helped to establish meal-delivery programs for African-born people with HIV/AIDS by working with Open Arms and organizations includ- ing the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, the Zyombi International Project, the Jaafari Islamic Center and the Minnesota African W omen’s Association.
“This was an opportunity to get to know St. Paul and Minneapolis” says Hedin, “to go into neighborhoods I don’t usually go to, working with people who don’t speak English. I delivered food a few days each week to maybe four house- holds. Often cheir only human contact was with Open Arms volunteers. This has been an opportunity to see the devastation of the global pandemic here in our community.”
Hedin continues to write articles on AIDS prevention and other topics that are translated into Amharic, the Ethiopian national language, and published in the local African press. The experience has been good preparation for Hedin’s intended career in international development, and she is applying for opportunities to work in sub- Saharan Africa after graduation. “I am confident my time as a Phillips Scholar will have a lasting impression on my academic and professional life,” she says.