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Commitment to Community: Priscilla Wang ’17’s Campaign to Keep Medical Workers and Patients Safe

In our new series, “Confidence, Courage, Hope,” we profile exceptional Scripps students, alumnae, faculty, and staff who are making a difference–from the local to the global–at the front lines of COVID-19. As we face these unprecedented challenges, the Scripps College community comes together for inspiration and solidarity in this unique moment in history.

Just as so many things do these days, it began with a post on social media. Priscilla Wang ’17’s former Scripps roommate had posted a link to GoFundMe, the online fundraising tool, for an organization called PPE 2 NYC. “I clicked the link and learned that the NYU hospital, where my friend works, lacked personal protective equipment (PPE), like gowns, masks, and gloves, and they didn’t have a reliable supply. So, I decided to start sharing these posts with my network.”

A few weeks later, the software developer at J.P. Morgan has connected with a Chinese mask manufacturer, hand-delivered PPE to vulnerable communities, and has raised enough money to purchase 1,000 FDA-approved N95 masks.

PPE 2 NYC was started by medical students and residents to procure PPE and funds for hospitals and other communities that serve vulnerable populations, like homeless shelters. For Wang, this focus on underserved populations is what motivated her involvement in movement. “Learning, this, I couldn’t do nothing while people were struggling, especially in these communities.” One community, in particular,  spoke to Wang’s sense of justice: Elmhurst Hospital in Queens—deemed the “epicenter of the epicenter” of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. As Wang recounts, Elmhurst’s catchment area includes an extremely high population of people of color, including populations that have, as our epidemiological knowledge of the virus has grown, shown unique susceptibility to the worst outcomes of the coronavirus. Now, in addition to fundraising for PPE 2 NYC, Wang is personally delivering supplies to Elmhurst. “My heart is devoted to this community,” she says.

Wang, who majored in the 3+2 program in computer engineering at Scripps and Columbia University, says that her time at Scripps “sowed the seeds” for social action and humanitarian pursuits. “All of us from Scripps walked away with the idea of giving back,” she recounts. “My experience at Scripps encouraged and motivated me to learn more about my community, especially marginalized and vulnerable communities, as well as the interconnectedness of all people. This is why I have such a heart for this work.”

Share your story from the front lines of COVID-19, or let us know about a Scripps classmate, alum, faculty, or staff member who is making a difference in this global pandemic at scrippscollege.edu/confidencecouragehope.

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