Attending the opening dinner for the 2016 MPH cohort gave me the opportunity to reflect upon how far I have come. Indeed, I need a great deal of perseverance to identity a supervisor who researched HIV in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, but I am so glad I did. Tomorrow morning I will finish up the draft results I have for him.
I met some interesting in-coming students – one of whom will be work with Chris Colvin under the SASH initiative on a qualitative study involving HIV and MSM. I met one or two South Africa, two fins, two Americans. One of the Americans, a student from South Carolina, walked with me all the way to Baxter Theater. On the way, we spoke – I related my challenges these past two years, but I should also my strategies for success. Surrounding myself with people who inspire me, especially the LGBT student community has been wonderful.
I have an LGBT mailing list with post-graduatate students, post-docs and academics who fall under the umbrella term queer, regardless of their actual sexual orientation. I have now invited them to attend our opening – my closing – event for 2016 . A talk by Professor Michael Pepper on “Sex determination and gender diversity” on the 27th of January, here at the Wolfson Pavillion.
Speaking of talks, here is a photo of me shortly after World AIDS day 2015. A classmate of mine, Lance Louskietter, invited me to speak about my research at the Artscape Resource Center – the aim was to tell young people what we know about HIV in MSM in South Africa. He did the event as part of his youth network – the activators. What privilege this all has been! It is coming to a close.
I bid farewell to my classmate and friend Blake on Monday and today I welcomed in-coming students. Time is indeed a joke.