Porter’s Ancient Nancy Zhou ’18 Reflects on PCGL’s 2022 On-campus Summer Programs

Nancy Zhou ’18 served as a Summer Program Teaching Assistant and Residential Advisor for the 2022 Summer Programs at Porter’s Center for Global Leadership. As summer draws to a close, we are excited to highlight her experiences within the program.

Nancy Zhou welcomes students from Japan to the PCGL On-Campus Summer Program for high school girls
Nancy Zhou ’18 welcomes students from Japan to the PCGL On-campus Summer Program for high school girls

I have had the privilege this summer to assist with the PCGL programming and teaching. Working with our students on crucial issues, such as climate and environmental governance, social justice, and healthcare equity, both in domestic and international contexts, has been a fun and rewarding experience for which I’m forever grateful. 

During the first week, we explored the scientific and political implications of global warming and its impact through productive in-class discussions, lectures, and field trips. We learned first-hand from local leaders, policy-makers, and scientists about the irreversibility and urgency of climate change that affects each of us. We created individual and joint protocols to address the problem by designing and leading the campers through informative challenge-by-choice projects. 

An awareness of the regional differences and similarities in terms of geographies, culture, and history also played a role in sustaining our conversations in the second week. We investigated the socioeconomic impediments to attaining global justice and the roles of grass-root organizations and international institutions to promote peace. Our trip to the United Nations in New York City expanded campers’ knowledge of systems of governance around the world through discussions with women in leadership positions in the organization. We also engaged in thought-provoking dialogues with the Connecticut American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which helped provide further insight into local community-oriented initiatives to represent the needs of those whose voices and concerns have often been excluded and underrepresented within the decision-making process. 

These lessons culminated in our third week as we narrowed our focus on medicine and committed to exploring the causes of inequity and inaccessibility of healthcare. Campers actively engaged in nursing and caregiving simulations at Hartford Hospital and enjoyed their practical apprenticeship, which they highlighted in their final presentations. It was clear that campers understood how a healthcare system’s administrative efforts and methodical training could assist with alleviating inequity. 

Reflecting upon our endeavors, I am so proud of every PCGL camper! I would like to commend them for their patience, kindness, activism, self-motivation, and compassion, as they embody the leaders of future generations whose potentials are distinct and diverse.

As a fellow woman in the field of International Relations, I have been deeply inspired by the mission of PCGL and by our superstar campers. Spending this summer with them and receiving mentorship from our wonderful program directors have re-shaped my understanding of the power of education to foster mutual respect and self-improvement among students and facilitators, to cultivate diversity of perception both in and outside of classrooms, and most importantly, to bring together our wisdom and perspectives to actualize collective actions towards a better world for all. 

I am thankful to our team, and I look forward to staying connected with our PCGL superstars <3

-Nancy Zhou ‘18, PCGL Summer Program Teaching Assistant and Residential Advisor

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