Francie Sentilles ’17 spent her summer in Memphis, New Orleans, Cleveland, and Seville, Spain working on a research project for her Hutchison Serves fellowship. Her research project focused on body image in breast cancer survivors, and she compared survey results from both the United States and Spain to determine whether or not cultural factors affect the body image of breast cancer patients.
Her first fellowship experience included working with Dr. Berry at West Clinic in Memphis. Her time here included observing 5 surgeries, shadowing Dr. Berry as he met with patients, and asking follow-up patients to fill out her 15-question survey after their examinations with the doctor.
From Memphis, Francie traveled to New Orleans to shadow Dr. Sullivan at St. Charles Surgical Hospital, the only hospital in the world built specifically to provide breast reconstruction surgeries to breast cancer patients. She was able to scrub-in during multiple surgeries and stand at the operating table to better observe the procedures. During her time at the hospital, Francie was able to meet patients from all over the world and learn about the options women have after breast cancer to improve their body image.
After her time in New Orleans, Francie traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, to spend a week interning with Dr. Eileen Anderson-Frye, a medical anthropologist and director of the bioethics department at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Anderson-Frye researches body image in adolescent girls around the world in response to globalization, and she shared some of her articles with Francie for her to review before arriving in Cleveland. Because her research centers around body image, she taught Francie how to effectively study the topic of body image and presented her with ways to improve her approach to her fellowship research. Francie will return to Cleveland for a month during the summer of 2017 to be a part of Dr. Anderson-Frye’s research team.
Francie then took her studies overseas when she traveled to Seville, Spain to live, study, and work for a month. After studying Spanish literature, touring the city, and participating in numerous cultural activities for the first two weeks, she began to work at Pulseras Rosas and Centro Mundolengua. Pulseras Rosas is a nonprofit organization that works to provide for the nonmedical needs of breast cancer patients and survivors. They offer many styles of turbans and wigs as well as products like natural makeup that will not harm patients' skin. In addition to the store, Pulseras Rosas started an initiative to provide free wigs to low-income women. People can donate their hair, and Pulseras Rosas exchanges it for free wigs. Francie assisted in processing hair donations and making pink bracelets (or pulseras rosas in Spanish), which Pulseras Rosas sells to raise money for wigs. Francie even cut almost 14 inches off of her own hair to donate to Pulseras Rosas!
During her time at Pulseras Roses, her mentor Sra. Herrera helped Francie edit her research project survey. Francie had already translated it to Spanish, and Sra. Herrera reviewed the survey to look for any necessary edits so the native Spanish speakers would find it easy to understand.
Francie spent time working atCentro Mundolengua to get experience in Marketing. She wrote blog posts for the Centro Mundolengua blog about the classes that she had taken during her time in Seville, her work at Pulseras Rosas, and her experience coming to the Centro Mundolengua community service program as an individual. She also worked on getting reviews for the Centro Mundolengua social media channels and edited the course catalog, which is in English. Francie was asked to be the first and only high school student ambassador, which gives her the responsibility of answering potential students’ questions about the high school programs.
So after 8 months of planning, 5 weeks of internships at 5 different sites, Francie was able to explore her passions of medicine and community service and gain valuable real-world experience.