Hey VISTAs! I’m Karly Koggenhop and I’m a first year AmeriCorps VISTA with the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy. I graduated from Oakland University in Rochester Michigan with a bachelors degree in Political Science, a minor in Sociology, a concentration in international relations, and the intent to go on to law school with a focus in international law.
However, as we all know, life happens. After working for half of 2016 at a law firm, miserable with my meaningless “foot-in-the-door” legal filing job, I realized I was living against a motto I have always sworn by: “Do more than exist.” I spent the next 3 hours filling out a heartfelt and intellectual application focusing on the severe economic and systemic disparities that exist in metro Detroit, an issue I have felt incredibly passionate about even before Detroit began it’s “comeback.” With every word I wrote, I felt more and more compelled to fix the big problems that we talk about, but never do anything about, the hidden problems the rest of the world is unaware of, and the individual circumstances people face that sometimes we simply cannot fight on our own.
In May 2016, I originally accepted an AmeriCorps position in Portland, Oregon beginning in August, however as the summer went on, my anxiety became worse and worse about the move. As I turned down my position with Portland, within a week I had accepted my position with the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy. As a crossfitting, Olympic lifting, yoga-doing, all around health-nut vegetarian, it’s safe to say I am exactly where I need to be.
My position with the College of Pharmacy works directly with the Service Learning for Health Professionals course. My start date in November put me right in the last half of the semester, so this current Winter semester is my chance to really dive in! Our class has over 80 graduate students not only in the college of Pharmacy, but medical school, nursing, public health, social work, and kinesiology, learning about the socio-ecological model of health and health disparities between socio-economic classes while directly serving the Ann Arbor community at over a dozen non-profits in the area. As we settle into the class, I am currently designing lesson plans for Community Action Network’s after school programs and two site-specific health presentations for adults at Peace Neighborhood Center.
My year of service just started, but I can already tell that I will be doing much more than simply existing.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!