GHS senior Kuann Fawkes featured in "Living the Dream" in the March Iowa Magazine
GHS senior Kuann Fawkes is featured in "Living the Dream" published in the March Iowa Magazine.
As the only current UI student from the Bahamas, Kuann Fawkes takes pride in representing her native land. Her country's flag flew over a pedestrian bridge on the Iowa River last semester as part of the "Bridging our World" installation, a celebration of the international diversity of the UI student body.
Grateful for the love and support she found through the display, Fawkes wrote afterward: "I stood on the bridge in front of my home country's flag with tears in my eyes. I have never felt more important, heard, and represented on this campus."
Fawkes was born in the U.S. but spent most of her childhood in the Bahamas. She came to the UI because she has family in Iowa and because her older siblings earned degrees from Iowa schools.
Fawkes says that for people in the Bahamas, the U.S. is a place where anything is possible, including wealth and prosperity. But she says her own experience has taught her this isn't necessarily true.
"I stood on the bridge in front of my home country's flag with tears in my eyes. I have never felt more important, heard, and represented on this campus."-KUANN FAWKES
A global health studies major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Fawkes has worked with refugees and other at-risk populations as part of the program's experiential learning curriculum. She says she has witnessed the disappointment in people who arrive in the U.S. expecting opportunity, but who sometimes find a path to education, housing, and employment blocked by laws or prejudice.
"There are many people who work very hard, but they still can't make a successful life for themselves and their family," says Fawkes. "Not everyone has the same opportunities in the U.S."
Desiring to help others navigate and overcome those challenges, Fawkes plans to pursue a master's degree in public health in the U.S. and then see where in the world her career takes her. "I have definitely benefited from my time in the U.S. and am grateful for the educational opportunities I have had here," she says, "but I'm not sure that the American dream is my dream."