Holly LoTurco is having anything but a boring summer following her freshman year at Duke University. The 2016 Huntington High School alum recently returned home following a month in South Africa.
Ms. LoTurco’s trip to Africa and her experiences there were coordinated by the Organization for Tropical Studies. The non-profit group is a consortium of over 50 universities and research institutions in the United States, Costa Rica, Mexico, South Africa and Australia. Duke is one of the consortium’s members.
“It was truly one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had,” Ms. LoTurco said. “I learned a tremendous amount, not only about global health, but also about South African culture, the history of the country and about myself.”
Ms. LoTurco enjoyed four charmed years at Huntington High School, starring on the mock trial team that was one of Suffolk’s best, serving as captain of the Highsteppers competitive dance squad that reached the national championships, earning a stellar academic grade average, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, traveling to Europe and South America, being inducted into five different honor societies and capturing Advanced Placement Scholar with Honors recognition.
The Huntington grad is following a pre-med academic path at Duke. She intends to go to medical school so the trip to Africa ties nicely into her future plans.
“While I was there, I was taking a global health class and writing a research proposal, both of which studied different infectious diseases throughout the country, in addition to how different social factors and human rights within South Africa affect these epidemics,” Ms. LoTurco said. “During our trip, we also were very fortunate to be able to stay in Johannesburg, participate in a homestay in Limpopo Province and go on safari game drives in Kruger National Park.”
Ms. LoTurco is also using her summer break to work in a hospital, gaining additional experience as she moves forward with her undergraduate pre-med studies and begins to think about medical school. Regardless of what the future holds, the Huntington alum will never forget the month she spent is South African this summer.
“Although there is still so much to learn, the memories I have made and the things I have learned on this trip resonate with me now and I think they will forever,” Ms. LoTurco said. “If anyone is thinking about studying abroad in the future, I would highly recommend it in addition to keeping an open mind so that you can learn as much as possible.”