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Kayla Wells ‘20 Wins A 2020 Faculty Scholars Award

Kayla Corredera-Wells ‘20, a Rubenstein Scholar from Palmyra, VA, is majoring in African & African American Studies and cultural anthropology. This spring she was named one of only seven 2020 Faculty Scholars Award winners. It is the only undergraduate scholarship award presented by university faculty that honors students whose record of independent work suggests great potential for innovative scholarship and a scholarly career.

Advised by Professor Harris Solomon, Corredera-Wells said she is interested in understanding the complex relationships between pain, empathy and identity in emergency care. She is a trained paramedic and has worked in prehospital care for more than five years. “What comes to mind for most people when they think of EMS is a glamorous picture of treating gunshot wounds and pulling people out of burning buildings,” Corredera-Wells said. “But in reality, most of my time in the ambulance is spent treating non-critical patients whose illnesses are a product of overlapping spheres of marginalization. I treat homeless patients who need a bed to sleep in for the night, diabetic patients who can’t afford their insulin, psychiatric patients who need intensive inpatient therapy that simply isn’t available, and uninsured patients who are forced to use the 911 system and the ER in place of primary care. In short, EMS lays bare the myriad ways in which social inequality precipitates the physical destruction of human bodies.”

Thanks to Rubenstein Scholarship enrichment funding to offset the costs of her rent, food, and travel for four months this summer, Corredera-Wells is able to work on her honor’s thesis doing ethnographic research in Durham, she said. “Rubenstein funding is what is making this project possible!"

Excerpted from Duke Today's Seven Undergraduates With A Record Advancing Knowledge and Bringing Change