Avery, who is from Columbia, Maryland, is in her third year at the University of Pittsburgh and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, along with minors in Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies and Political Science. Throughout her first two years at Pitt, she had many opportunities to work and volunteer in different communities in Pittsburgh. Beginning in her first semester, she volunteered with youth at the Carnegie Library in Downtown Pittsburgh, helping them improve their reading skills, stimulating their imaginations, and aiding kids with their school work. Also beginning in her first semester, Avery worked as a swim lesson instructor at Trees Hall, teaching youth how to swim and improve their swimming techniques. In the fall semester of her sophomore year, Avery began volunteering at UPMC Shadyside as a Healing Notes volunteer where she played her flute for staff and patients and their families.
In the 2020 spring semester, Avery had the privilege of studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Avery explored Florence and many other beautiful places in Europe. It was her Intercultural Piazza class that exposed her to the struggles and barriers migrants in Europe, and specifically in Italy, face, as well as the discriminatory and harsh policies restricting migrants’ access to health resources. This knowledge only intensified her passion for advocating for health equity in marginalized communities.
In the summer of 2020, Avery had the opportunity to be part of a summer research fellowship with the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work. Through the summer, she participated in a research project that investigates whether or not racism should be included as an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) and explores the health effects of individual and structural racism on people of color.
As she continues her Social Work education, with the intention of pursuing a Master of Public Health, Avery deepens her understanding of the endless pathways through which health equity must be addressed to provide members of marginalized communities a fair chance at living the healthiest life they can.