Missouri State University
Rachel Greatwood

Rachel Greatwood

Travel, empathy lead student to Africa

For Rachel Greatwood, travel is a way of life.

“I moved all the time growing up, moving 10 times attending seven different schools,” she said.

As a student at Missouri State University, Greatwood’s love for travel led her to Uganda last summer as a Social and Environmental Exchange Network volunteer. While there she worked for a hospital providing free care for HIV positive patients and giving health presentations to high school students.

“To say my experience in Uganda was amazing is an understatement; it was really hard to come back,” she said. “The people were unbelievably welcoming, helping and very grateful for the help. I hope to go back one day.”

Greatwood was recently awarded a 2011 Citizen Scholar Award for her outstanding efforts to improve the lives of others locally and abroad.

“A student scholar has empathy for social injustice, and wants to help their community in ways they feel most possible,” she said. “I feel extremely grateful to have been given such an amazing award.”

A senior pre-med student with a major in dietetics, Greatwood plans to apply to medical school in May and graduate from Missouri State next December. She said she wants to study osteopathic medicine because of its whole body approach.

“After completing medical school, I really hope to work as a physician in primary care. I think preventative treatment is the most rewarding of all medicine, and there is such a need for it nowadays with so many preventable diseases on the rise such as type-two diabetes, heart failure and coronary artery disease.

“I would love to go back to Africa one day and continue to help in some way, even if only for a short time period.”