Born and raised in Johannesburg (South Africa), Sasheenie interacted with individuals who were HIV positive as a teen volunteer and peer mentor in HIV orphanages in Gauteng province. When she moved to Atlanta (USA) in the middle of her Senior Year of high school she continued her involvement as a peer mentor at the ‘Boys and Girls Club.’ Dedicated to her mentorship commitments and HIV work, Sasheenie is passionate about citizenship, excellence, and sustainable community involvement. At the University of Virginia, Sasheenie is a Center for Global Health Scholar, Echols Scholar, and Jefferson Scholar. She is pursuing an Interdisciplinary BA degree in Global Development Studies, and learning to distinguish between the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to carry out development work on a global platform. Through the lens of her major and HIV work in South Africa, Sasheenie continues to explore the plethora of challenges omnipresent in the interactions between foreign students and South African men, specifically elucidating the role a student plays in a local community, analyzing feasible ways to navigate power dynamics inherent in interactions with NGO, and recognizing the agency of each individual in a given community. A graduating 3rd year, Sasheenie is finishing her BA while dual-enrolled in the Masters in Public Health program at UVa, and hopes to one day attend medical school. “I think the surgical field is really interesting,” she says. In February 2016, Sasheenie presented her paper HIV & Masculinity in Gugulethu at the 8th Annual Kellogg and Ford Family Human Development Conference at the University of Notre Dame. As a panelist and speaker, Sasheenie encouraged audiences to reflect and critically analyze her research experiences as well as their own.
She comments: “I am eternally grateful for the Glenn and Susan Brace Scholar Award, and for the opportunity to carry out research in South Africa. Exploring a correlation between high HIV prevalence rates, and traditionally masculine gender norms was
exciting and rewarding, and working with Dr. Chris Colvin at the University of Cape Town was fantastic! This project
taught me about empathy and recognizing experiences outside my own realm of consciousness, as I spoke to men in the
urban township (Gugulethu) about why they reject and resist HIV treatments. I am really looking forward to developing
these skills more as I continue learning about sustainable interactions as a global citizen.”