Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hello! My name is Abby and I'm one of the 2012 WomenNC CSW Fellows. A little about myself: I'm a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill studying Biology with minors in Chemistry and Entrepreneurship. I'm a morning bird and I love to wake up early and run, only to return and cuddle up with cup of black coffee before the day starts. However, when I'm not running around campus I'm also a beekeeper! Going into hives with thousands of angry worker bees (fun fact: all worker bees are female) gives me a bit of a thrill.

Anyways, I wanted to share a little bit about my experience so far with WomenNC, because I could talk about beekeeping all day. My topic for the Commission on the Status of Women focuses on community health systems for rural North Carolina women. Specifically, I'm working with two organizations: the HOPE Projects (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment) and the North Carolina Breast Cancer Screening Program. My research has consisted of a lot of literature searches and interviews over break (at various coffee shops, of course!) and picked up a lot of momentum in the first two weeks of 2012. This past week in particular has been pretty incredible--I've felt so much support from my incredible mentors in WomenNC throughout the last few months, but this is the first week that I've began to tell my professors just why I'm missing a week of school in February. I've been able to share with four women, four strangers to me as of Monday, about my research and my anticipation for the Commission on the Status of Women. Back to back to back to back I had overwhelmingly insightful and joyful conversations with my professors, who were elated about this chance and excited to support me. Even my Plant Biology professor was offering me insight on resources in the School of Public Health that she knew of! While I've felt a strong community within WomenNC for preparing us for our research, it was truly wonderful to see that community to extend to my academics at Carolina

I want to share a cool resource given to me by Ms. Jo Anne Earp and Ms. Alexis Moore of the North Carolina Breast Cancer Screening Program. After a recent interview to learn more about NC-BCSP, I was given a beaded necklace with six different sizes of wooden bead
s on it. The necklace is beautiful, but what really moved me was it's practicality: each bead represents the size of a breast lump that could be recognized by different screening processes. T he necklace is worn by community health workers who specifically focus on raising awareness on breast cancer screening. The littlest bead is smaller than a pea and represents the size of a lump that might be found by getting mammograms every 1-2 years. The bea
ds gradually increase in size until the largest bead, which is as big as a walnut, serves as a visual representation of a lump that could be found by a women who rarely examines her own breasts. This brilliant visual representation is a great example of a tool for lay health workers to explain the importance of mammograms in approachable terms.

These next few weeks will absolutely be busy with research, compounded by classes and homework starting up. However, I'm excited nonetheless to continue this incredible experience as I near the end of my paper and began to prepare a presentation for the CSW! On February 16th, WomenNC will be hosting a fantastic dinner at the NC State Faculty Club to introduce the WomenNC CSW Fellows. Please sign up and come join us! You can register at I hope to see you there!

-Abby Bouchon

1 comment:

  1. Nice work Abby, i can't wait till Feb 26th. Just a month away. I am taking my exams earlier. I was supposed to have 3 exams the week we are at CSW.