Mercer University senior awarded Into the Fields internship  

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headshot of lea dulcio
Lea Dulcio

MACON — Mercer University senior Lea Dulcio was recently awarded an Into the Fields summer internship from Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF). 

The 10-week internship program is designed to give about 25 college students the opportunity to work directly with farmworkers in the Carolinas. The students are trained on issues that farmworkers face and placed to work full-time with migrant education programs, legal aid offices, rural health clinics, community-based organizations, and farmworker unions. 

Dulcio, a global health studies and Spanish double-major from Lawrenceville, will work at a rural health clinic. Her responsibilities will include translating and interpreting between English and Spanish, conducting surveys or research studies with farmworkers, and providing health education. 

“This internship will effortlessly allow me to engage my passion for the Spanish language and for health,” she said.  

Dulcio aspires to be a family physician with a focus on Spanish-speaking and Haitian people. 

“Lea is incredibly passionate about migrant health issues,” said Dr. Amy Nichols-Belo, associate professor of global health studies. “She’s well-versed in the complex sociopolitical and economic issues that lead to the structural violence faced by migrant farmworkers and will be able to use this knowledge in an applied setting. This experience will prove invaluable as she works towards a career in medicine.   

At Mercer, Dulcio is the president of A.G.A.P.E. (All God’s Anointed People Evangelizing) campus ministry and La Mesa academic club; a member of Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Sigma Iota honor societies; and a member of the Student National Medical Association’s National Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students committee. She is an Opportunity Scholars ambassador, Academic Resource Center lab assistant and Spanish tutor. In addition, she is a two-time recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, a Global Leader Scholar, and a recipient of the Cervantes Award for Outstanding Achievement in Spanish Studies. 

“I am grateful to have achieved this internship,” Dulcio said. “I want to thank God for Dr. Nichols-Belo, who exposed me to farmworker issues; Dr. Cameron Kunzelman, who helped me plan out my application; and Dr. Clara Mengolini, who gave me feedback on my Spanglish essay. Mercer prepared me for this internship by showing me there are unfathomable ways to exercise your passions in this world no matter how unheard of they are.” 

The Into the Fields internship provides recipients with a $4,250 stipend, rent-free housing, room and board at three training sessions, and mentorship. Students from farmworker families receive support securing paid travel to North Carolina and an end-of-program scholarship. As part of the internship, students also will participate in fundraising for SAF, write three articles or blogs, and complete a documentary or theater project. 

SAF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring students and farmworkers together to learn about each other’s lives, share resources and skills, improve conditions for farmworkers, and build diverse coalitions working for social change. SAF interns increase the capacity of the organizations they work with by reaching over 5,000 farmworkers and their families each summer. 

About Mercer University 

Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. With approximately 9,000 students enrolled in 12 schools and colleges, on major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; medical school sites in Macon, Savannah and Columbus; and at regional academic centers in Henry and Douglas counties, Mercer is ranked among the top tier of national research universities by U.S. News & World Report. The Mercer Health Sciences Center includes the University’s School of Medicine and Colleges of Nursing, Health Professions and Pharmacy. Mercer is affiliated with five teaching hospitals – Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center and Piedmont Macon Medical Center in Macon; Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah; and Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital and St. Francis-Emory Healthcare in Columbus. The University also has an educational partnership with Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins. It operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer Medicine, the clinical faculty practice of the School of Medicine, is based in Macon and operates additional clinics in Sumter, Peach, Clay, Putnam and Harris counties. Mercer is one of only 293 institutions nationwide to shelter a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society; one of eight institutions to hold membership in the Georgia Research Alliance; and the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit mercer.edu

Jennifer Falk is the director of digital communications at Mercer University and editor-in-chief of The Den. She creates and supervises the development of written and multimedia content for primary University web pages and e-newsletters, including The Den and This Week @ Mercer. In addition, she collaborates with schools and offices to maintain web content and examines data and analytics to drive content creation decisions. She also serves as a member of the University's social media committee.