Karina Paul’s Summer at Johns Hopkins University

Written by Minds Matter Portland on November 29th, 2014. Posted in MM Portland

By Briana Crider

Karina Paul at JHU

Most high school students wouldn’t dream of spending their summer taking abnormal psychology from a top rated university, but nothing is too challenging for one of our incredible students at Minds Matter of Portland. Karina Paul, a Junior Mentee from Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School (commonly known as “HeLa High”), spent part of her summer at the picturesque Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Not only did she immerse herself in the complex world of abnormal psychology, she also connected into the law field by diving into the psychological aspects of why people commit crimes.

Karina Paul on the right, with friends at JHU

Karina Paul on the right, with friends at JHU

“I absolutely loved the experience!” Karina told me. During the program, she made new friends with the same interests and curiosity in learning, and the extracurricular activities proved to be just as insightful and fun as the compelling topics discussed in the classroom. She visited a multitude of places on field trips, including hospitals, courts, detention centers, and even the SWAT department. Students also had the opportunity to visit the downtown Inner Harbor and take a trip to D.C. “I honestly didn’t want to leave,” Karina said. “JHU is a beautiful campus, and something in the air about Baltimore made me feel like I truly belong there.”

For Karina, it wasn’t all fun. There were some minor frustrating moments when faced with the English language barrier coupled with complex vocabulary used by her professor, Dr. Raifman. Despite these struggles, she still found the positive in this situation and even complemented her professor. “Dr. Raifman was a very outgoing man, he definitely had a sense of humor.” On the last day, after a tough exam, Karina spent the night dancing with friends and even participated in the belly-dancing portion of a talent show.

My favorite part of Minds Matter is watching the students grow not only academically, but also personally—in their confidence and ability to seek opportunities in the world around them. Karina is just one of many high-achieving students in the Minds Matter program, and she is embracing these experiences with open arms. I have no doubt she will graduate from the program and continue on to a successful future in her college career and beyond. Promoting the idea that money is not a barrier to college access is the reason I volunteer with this organization. These students are incredibly dynamic and eager to work hard at achieving their dreams. I am grateful to be part of that journey.

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