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On A Mission

Eleven countries, two internships, one goal of changing the world. All created through UIndy’s network of opportunities. 

Sopgwen_moleculehomore year, 2013:

Gwen Debaun ’16 applies for and is accepted for an internship in Washington, D.C., with the Richard G. Lugar Academy, a program that gives students a unique inside view of how the nation’s capitol works. While in Washington, she attended the National Community Church. “The church was very involved with mission work,” she said. “I knew that mission work was something I wanted to do after graduation, but
found out that God had other plans
before then.”

August 2014:

Gwen was starting her junior year at UIndy and felt an internal nudge to take a semester off. She started looking into organizations that were doing mission work and located the World Race.

January 2015 to November 2015:

Gwen takes time off from her schooling in order to tackle the World Race. The World Race is an 11-month mission trip to 11 countries. In each country, she worked at the community level with organizations including churches and schools. “We simply helped them in any possible way; we were added hands and feet for them.”

January 2016:

Gwen was taking a “Writing and Editing for Nonprofits” class taught by English professor Kevin McKelvey and was researching a company called the Thirst Project, a group that is battling the global drinking water crisis. “I was making a list of organizations that I thought it would be fun to work with,” she said. “I put the Thirst Project on my list and started to fall in love with the work their team has been doing around the world.”

Fall 2016:

Gwen meets with Kirk Bryans in UIndy’s Professional Edge Center. The Center helps students from all academic areas to identify career pathways, interact with business professionals, and develop professional and interpersonal skills. Mr. Bryans set up an interview for Gwen with Seth Maxwell, the CEO of the Thirst Project, to talk about interning with
his organization.

December 2016:

Gwen graduates from the University of Indianapolis with a degree in Environmental Sustainability and a minor in International Relations.

January to April 2017:

Gwen works with the Thirst Project as part of their Road Warrior internship. “We traveled across North America speaking at schools in order to educate students on the global water crisis. In the past 8 years, students have helped us to raise more than $8-million to fund clean water projects to more than 300,000 people in 13 countries. During the World Race, I saw first-hand what the global water crisis is actually like. I’ve felt the effects of drinking dirty water. I could not be more excited to travel across the country educating students and helping them
to use their talents to end the global water crisis!”

Gwen’s advice to incoming freshmen:

“The most important things are to get involved, get to know people, and ask questions.”