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Show of Diversity

Show of DiversityMedical students share their cultural diversity through the performing arts to raise money for the Colleen Romain Scholarship Fund.

Boston [03.09.09] Cultural diversity met scholarship in the Multicultural Performing Arts Group (MPAG) Show, held Feb. 27 at the Josiah Quincy Community Center in Chinatown and featuring the talent of students from across Tufts' Health Sciences campus.

For the past eight years, the show has been coordinated by the Tufts chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) as an annual fundraiser for the Colleen Romain Scholarship Fund, named for the director for student programs and minority affairs at the Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM). This year, with an audience of almost 200 attendees, the Multicultural Performing Arts Show raised about $1,026 to date, with more funds expected. Those earnings, combined with leftover planning money, will fund two $500 college scholarships for high school seniors from the Boston area.

Established by Dr. Larnie Booker in 1998, the scholarship fund was an extension of Romain's work in creating outreach programs at local high schools. The fund was named for Romain in recognition of her dedication to minority students who sought higher education to work in health professions.

"I always thought that minorities and other students may walk around the Tufts campus and only think it was a hospital. And I felt they should realize that it was much more than a hospital-that there are many educational and other resources here," says Romain.

The SNMA, which worked with early diversity programs of the TUSM, took charge of the scholarship fund and organized the Multicultural Performing Arts Show to raise funds for it.

According to SNMA co-president Latrice Goosby, who played an active role in coordinating the event, "The show is a lot of fun and provides an opportunity for those on the Health Sciences campus to showcase their talents in the performing arts, while also showcasing diversity on the campus. Diversity is one of the key interests of the SNMA. That, plus the tradition of the show, makes it an ideal fundraiser for the scholarship fund."

Show coordinator Jessica Knox was proud to attract performers "representative of the entire Tufts Health Sciences campus and community."This year, about 30 student performers from all years and medical backgrounds took part and shared their cultural heritage with the community.

Highlights included a Bhangra (Indian music and dance) group consisting solely of first-year medical students, a tap-dancing dental student, and a master's candidate in biomedical sciences, recently accepted into the medical school, who performed a Persian dance with a group of classmates. Dance was the predominant talent on display, including hip hop, ballet, Bollywood, and salsa.

"It's refreshing to know that the self-expression of one's culture can be compatible with other cultures," says Ashley Greiner, a third-year medical student."I've always been interested in other cultures and it's interesting to see that although all cultures are unique in their own right, they can still come together into a production and even fuse."

The performers "are very versatile," adds Romain. "They are not only medical students but they bring other [talents] into the school." While Romain continues to be actively involved and annually attends the show, she says that the event has become an annual program "by virtue of the student body."

Grenier was very supportive of not only the cultural diversity in the show but also its reflection of the wide variety of student talent found at TUSM.

"It's amazing to see someone you've sat next to in class for a few years strap on their tap shoes or play their cello," says Greiner, who choreographed a ballet solo. "It's a great way to really get to know the other side of people rather than just the 'student' you see day to day, and in that sense enter their culture."

By Kelsey Anderson (A'11).


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