Cornell Chronicle Online

Search Chronicle Online

Réginald Sévère of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, studied human biology, health and society; minored in global health
Main Cornell extracurricular activity -- why is it important to you?
Serving as a resident adviser at the Holland International Living Center, my home for all four years. As a freshman, I felt welcomed because everyone had a different background and a different story, thus we were all eager to learn from one another. As an RA, I have made some of my most cherished friendships and met some of the most amazing people. Living in HILC helped me realize the importance of community, of leaving one's comfort zone and of dedication.
While at Cornell, what other accomplishments/activities are you most proud of?
Through a service project my best friend and I initiated, we raised funds to purchase medical supplies and staple foods for patients in an outpatient clinic in Port-au-Prince and generated a resource binder about postsecondary education opportunities for a high school library in Port-au-Prince. During winter break of my junior year, I helped a group of American medical students, serving as a liaison between the doctors and the patients. The group provided care at a rural clinic that served eight neighboring villages. I also interned at the GHESKIO clinic working in the sexually transmitted diseases unit, interacting with patients and participating in counseling sessions for those who had returned for their blood test results. As a senior I helped start a Cornell service-learning project in the Dominican Republic, to help Haitian immigrants. The project aims to support this community by improving their educational and medical infrastructure. Finally, thanks to the Cornell Tradition office I was also able to travel to Nicaragua to help build eco-stoves and renovate a rehabilitation center for young adults addicted to drugs. These experiences have helped me build a better understanding of the challenges involved in supporting an impoverished community. A lot more work is still needed in those communities, and I hope to continue supporting them in the future.
Your most profound turning point while at Cornell?
The first time I studied in Uris Library as a freshman. Walking back at 2 a.m., under the cold rain, I not only realized how far away I was from my little Caribbean island but also was reminded of the amount of sacrifices that I would have to make to survive and excel at Cornell. My four years here have been shaped by the fact that I come from a country where basic things like taking a warm shower can be a luxury for some people. The situation back home motivated me and shaped my choices when deciding on a major and minor and guided my choices of extracurricular activities. The reality of Haiti constantly reminded me that no matter what I experienced while at Cornell (i.e. stress, disappointment, etc.), I was still very fortunate.
What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years?
For two years, I will be pursuing a master's of science in education at Johns Hopkins University while attending to my responsibilities as a Teach for America corps member. I will be teaching secondary chemistry in a Baltimore public school. In 10 years, I hope to have obtained my medical degree and will be in the process of finishing my residency in pediatrics.
What Cornell-related scholarships/special financial benefits did you receive?
I will forever be grateful to Cornell Tradition, Cornell's Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program and to the Cornell Professional Opportunities Program. Their financial and professional support helped me reached my academic and professional objectives.