News

Professor changes world for the better

Imagine flying over the forests of Colombia in a chopper and landing in the middle of a battlefield with the noise of gunshots resounding through the trees. The people there are ridden with an infectious fungal disease from head to toe, leaving no room for clothes or shoes.

These are the battle-weary soldiers that Sherri Porcelain, lecturer in the department of international studies at the University of Miami, went to help.

Porcelain was 21 and in the Peace Corps when her work sent her to Colombia. She applied ointments and medicines to the soldiers and helped to revive the entire army. After three years of service, she was awarded commendations by the Colombian army.

This first experience involving the Peace Corps solidified her roots in community development, and humanitarian/disaster work. Following the Peace Corps, Porcelain went to Honduras.

“We went to visit a hospital and there were three or four kids in one crib, all had malnutrition. One kid had Vitamin B deficiency. When I asked the mom why she thought her child had that, she said bad soil, bad ground, evil spirits in the ground,” she said.

Porcelain went on to attain a degree in public health and world affairs in which field epidemiology was basic training.

Porcelain got a special opportunity in 2005. She was teaching a class called Global Health and Ethics when she received word that MTV-U wanted to attend her class and bring in Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor, as a guest speaker.

Along with regular teaching, Porcelain has developed internships as well as trips for students so that they may actively engage in their learning not only through a text book but through hands on experience.

Her home is lined with framed pieces of artwork and crafts from various countries, from a stick used at political meetings held by the Kuna Indians to the dolls of Colombian street children.

Her pursuits are not only academic.

“I love to cook, introduce people to eating healthy, vegetarian cookery, tofu… People tell me I make the best tofu. I also love animals – I have an 85 pound dog from Germany and cats.”

Porcelain has taught since 1988 both at the Miller School of Medicine and Coral Gables campus, where she has earned a stellar reputation.

“I’ve heard that she’s a nice lady, and that she’s always willing to be there for her students. She also tries to get her students internships, which is awesome. I look forward to having her this semester and future semesters to come,” Alyshah Jaffer, a sophomore, said about his reasoning for enrolling in her class this semester.

August 30, 2009

Reporters

Chhaya Nene

Contributing Columnist


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ With the first ever early signing period just two we ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst sat on a stage poolside at the ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

New Multi-State Institute Focuses on Reducing Damage from Severe Storms ...

Daniela Deu was drawn to both architecture and urbanism, believes architecture can change communitie ...

Canes Basketball player development assistant will graduate with MSED in Sport Administation. ...

UOnline graduate will earn his M.S. in Health Informatics ...

Two Hurricanes receive AVCA All-America recognition for first time since 2014. ...

Coming off its first top-25 victory of the year, the Miami women's basketball team will play it ...

Hurricanes earn highest ranking since March 2013. ...

Walker IV recorded a career-high 26 points, seven rebounds in the win over Boston U. ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team earned an impressive 65-54 win over No. 20/23 K ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.