In early spring, Barbara Bruner ’76 selected Grace Reckers ’18 as the Scripps attendee for the Carter Center Executive Briefing held in Atlanta this April. Bruner, a Scripps College Trustee, has funded at least one student a year to attend the briefing for the past decade.
The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. The Center aims to improve the quality of life for individuals in more than 80 countries. As part of the mission, the nonprofit strives to advance human rights and curtail human suffering. Each spring, an executive briefing is held for donors, scientists, and human rights advocates. They discuss important worldly issues, such as the state of mental health or the status on infectious diseases. This two-day symposium engages donors and stakeholders and allows guests to meet the Carter family.
Bruner has been involved with the center for many years. Upon graduation, Bruner served as a paramedic in Pasadena before becoming a pharmaceutical sales representative in the late 1970s. Her interest in human rights and public health spurred an interest in the Carter Center. Ten years ago, Bruner began sponsoring Scripps students to attend the event. This isn’t typical, as many Executive Briefing attendees are established in their careers as advocates, health experts, or scientists.
“There’s value in this experience. It provides exposure to the interworking of a respected international organization,” says Bruner.
Reckers is a public policy analysis and biology double major, and she takes an interest in community outreach and social justice. “When I began my career at Scripps with an interest in medicine, I didn’t realize how these interests would transform,” Reckers says. “I realized that my passions did not just lie in medicine; I have an interest in working to end health disparities within oppressed communities, particularly working class communities of color.”
In looking ahead to the experience, Reckers highlights the connection with others in the public health sector. She hopes to learn more from the wisdom and work of the experts in the industry.
Alina Shaw ’07 was the first Scripps woman sponsored by Bruner. Shaw made the most of her experience and was selected as an intern for the Carter Center following graduation. “Living in Atlanta was a new cultural experience for me,” says Shaw. “In my four months with the internship and working as a consultant with Carter Center after, I was exposed to the real-life operation of global health programs since developing an interest in the field during a [Pomona course in] medical anthropology.” During this experience, she met with former President Fox of Mexico and other dignitaries who visited the Carter Center, and joined in the celebration of President Carter’s 80th birthday in Plains, Georgia. Currently, Shaw works in San Diego with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a health communications specialist in the U.S.-Mexico Unit. There, she facilitates communication between the U.S. and Mexico regarding epidemiological information and ways to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
“On a daily basis, I use the information I learned at the Carter Center by sharing compelling stories about healthcare across borders and cultures,” Shaw explains. “Previously, I had the opportunity to work on the Ebola [virus] response, and now I am working on the front lines to combat the Zika [virus].”
Bruner recognizes that many students are unable to take on free internships, while today’s job market requires more experience. “I give back to support the College’s efforts to improve the lives of our students,” Bruner says. She hopes that sponsorship to attend the Carter Center’s Executive Briefing will help students discover their passions. For these reasons, Bruner also gives to fund an internship grant in human rights.
For more information about the Carter Center Executive Briefing, visit www.cartercenter.org/donate/ambassadors/memberevents.html. To support internships for Scripps students, you can designate your gift at scripps-staging.skybox0.com/giving/.