Meet Grayson, Interning Virtually from South Dakota!

Hi everyone! My name is Grayson and I’m ecstatic to be a new summer intern for the Georgia Prevention Project! I’m a rising junior at Washington and Lee studying neuroscience with a minor in poverty and human capabilities. I love neuroscience and really any form of science, but originally became intrigued and passionate about science and medicine through the opportunity it carries for helping people.

I’m from the Black Hills area in South Dakota and grew up with three brothers and my single mother. During the summers, I’d work for my dad at the foot of Mt. Rushmore and actually made cotton candy for their gift shop from around the ages of 6-12. Neither my dad nor mom made much money, and my mom worked seasonal and summer jobs on top of her school counseling job to make things work while my dad struggled to pay child support each month. Growing up in a more rural area in South Dakota I was subject to and more keenly aware of the issues involved with rural poverty and lack of income: housing and transportation instability and living across trailer parks in areas where the poverty rate surmounted 30 percent in most cases and 60 percent in areas on the Pine Ridge reservation made me understand the sobering effects and consequences of poverty. The hydra like heads or causes and consequences that accompany poverty were ever present throughout my environment and life, and through working with GPP I hope to help address and help prevent an extremely important cause and consequence of poverty, drug abuse.

Through much of my work in communities and in academia, I’ve come to see the overlap between poverty and drug misuse/abuse. The inextricable tie drugs have with American poverty, social justice issues, and even police brutality and the cries for justice today are ever apparent and poignantly indicative of the extreme importance there is in how we respond to, educate, prevent, make policy, and even talk about drug issues.

I’m thrilled to get to work with the Georgia Prevention Project to help identify and provide drug education to the areas in Georgia most in need, as well as learn as much as I can from the awesome staff at GPP and organizations across Georgia battling drug abuse!


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