Jean Junior graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University with an A.B. in sociology in 2009. She spent her undergraduate years engaging in social justice and global health work through organizations such as the Harvard College Global Health and AIDS Coalition. She was also deeply involved with CityStep, an amazingly fun undergraduate-run dance education program for public school students. During the summer after her sophomore year, Jean interned at iTEACH, an NGO based in South Africa, which works to save the lives of people with HIV and TB. While there, she designed a community-based study aimed at providing patients with sustainable vegetable gardens. She spent the following summer in Bangladesh doing rural health research and studying poverty alleviation strategies at BRAC (formerly, the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Corporation). As a senior, she wrote a thesis on the gendered experiences of African physician immigrants to the U.S. Since graduating, Jean has returned to South Africa as a Fulbright fellow to evaluate and improve iTEACH’s treatment program for end-stage AIDS patients. After her year in South Africa, she will spend two years at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar studying Comparative Social Policy. Then, she will return to the U.S. for medical school. In broad terms, her ultimate goal is to try her hardest to alleviate poverty, hunger, illness, and human suffering. Jean loves playing clarinet and “talking to people who want to make the world a better place.”
“Therefore I shall devote myself, my time, my energy, my talents, to the service of South Africa. I shall no longer ask myself if this or that is expedient, but only if it is right. I shall do this not because I am noble or unselfish, but because life slips away and because I need for the rest of my journey a star that will not play false to me, a compass that will not lie. I shall do this, not because I am a negrophile and a hater of my own, but because I cannot find it in me to do anything else. I am lost when I balance this against that, I am lost when I ask if this is safe, I am lost when I ask if men, white men or black men, Englishmen or Afrikaners, Gentiles or Jews, will approve. Therefore I shall try to do what is right, and to speak what is true.
I do this not because I am courageous and honest but because it is the only way to end the conflict of my deepest soul. I do it because I am no longer able to aspire to the highest with one part of myself, and to deny it with another. I do not wish to live like that, I would rather die than live like that. I understand better those who have died for their convictions, and have not thought it was wonderful or brave or noble to die. They died rather than live, that was all. Yet it would not be honest to pretend that it is solely an inverted selfishness that moves move. I am moved by something that is not my own, that moves me to do what is right, at whatever cost it may be.” Cry, The Beloved Country, Alan Patan