Meet the UIAA’s 2016 Voyagers student volunteers

The UIAA has been sending students overseas for volunteer service trips since 2005 with Magid Scholarships. Pictured here is Lily Allen-Duenas, who worked with children in Romania in 2010.

Cuba lies less than 100 miles from Florida, but for decades, few Americans have visited the neighboring island nation.

In June, two University of Iowa students will experience Cuba firsthand as part of the UIAA Voyagers program’s annual student service trips.

The UIAA’s Dr. Ken Magid Child Advocacy Scholarships have traditionally sent students to Ecuador and Romania, where they assist a small team of volunteers working with disadvantaged children in schools, clinics, hospitals, orphanages, and elsewhere.

This marks the first year the UIAA will send students to Cuba, which has become more accessible to Americans with the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries for the first time since 1961.

Two UI students will work in Cuba from June 18 to July 2, while four others will serve in Ecuador from May 14 through May 28. Among their duties, the volunteers will care for babies and toddlers, help grade-school children practice their English, and assist with community projects.

The Magid scholarships, established in 2005 by UI alumna Linda Baker, cover airfare, hotel accommodations, meals, program materials, and training.



Amira Nash and Benjamin Hyland are heading to Cuba in June.


  Year: Junior.

  Hometown: North Liberty.

• Major: Psychology and secondary education.

 On serving abroad: “I’m most excited about interacting with the Cuban people while their culture is still preserved, before it becomes more Americanized.”



  Year: Sophomore.

  Hometown: Vinton.

  Major: Economics and international relations.

  On serving abroad: “The Magid Scholarship has given me the unique chance to travel to a nation that has been off limits to most Americans for decades. Our trip will come during a historic period in U.S.-Cuban relations, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity.”



The students heading to Ecuador in May are, from left, Micah Augusma, Alyssa McIntyre, Alyssa Peiffer, and Margaret Timm.


 Year: Freshman.

• Hometown: Grimes.

 Major: Medical anthropology.

 On serving abroad: “I have committed myself to be a lifelong learner. Therefore, I am a huge advocate of consilient knowledge, not only for personal growth and insight but also to use the knowledge I learn in pay it forward to others.”



 Year: Sophomore.

• Hometown: Bondurant.

 Major: Therapeutic recreation.

• On serving abroad: “I’ve never been overseas before, so being able to go and immerse myself in Ecuador’s language, food, and way of life will be brand new, and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot.”



• Year: Sophomore.

  Hometown: Gurnee, Illinois.

  Major: Elementary education.

  On serving abroad: “I am looking forward to working with the children in Ecuador. It is such an amazing opportunity to be able make a difference in a different country and culture!”



• Year: Junior.

  Hometown: Byron, Illinois.

  Major: Nursing.

• On serving abroad: “I am eager to experience a new culture in Ecuador while developing a positive relationship with children and community members to help make a lasting impact in their lives.


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