Monday, February 23, 2009

Emailed Question

I recently received an email from a senior sociology major from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. This is an exceprt from her email. "I would love to know more about your research and about your experiences. What interested you in doing such research and what methods did you employ? It seems a bit incredible to have conducted so many interviews across such distance. I look forward to hearing from you and about your experiences." - I decided to post my response.

Hello Tristine,

Thanks for the email. As you can imagine the answer is quite long. But in regards to methods and interviewing - I had separate meetings with an HIV/AIDS sociologist from Fairfield University, two infectious disease doctors (one of which ran a clinic in East Africa), and lastly a few phone conversations with a journalist from the Wall St. Journal. The sociologist helped me with setting up the depth and scope of the interviews, the doctors with research questions they thought would be relevant, and then the journalist taught me the "rules and standards of the trade". Each person looked over the consent forms that I created to make sure both the research and interviewing was done with expressed written consent given the personal nature of the work. I am happy to report that many interviewees have consented to use of identifiable pictures which provides a personal connection for the reader. It is the individuals I have met and interviewed that make my work special. Their voices, pictures, and stories are challenging and powerful.

Much of my questions stemmed from my personal experience interning in Nicaragua during college at CISAS and my work with FACEAIDS - a student run initiative to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa and conduct advocacy/fundraising in the US. They do a marvelous job at keeping students informed with the latest studies. They also make sure the human component and socio-political underpinning reach their audience.

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have or share any experience with the research. It would appear a daunting task to conduct research in these different regions of the world but I have worked diligently to personally raise the funds, connect with the proper organizations, and count on the support of family, friends, and donors to continue my work. I am particularly indebted to the Emily C. Specchio Foundation who opened an account for my fundraising efforts and the Jesuit community. Many of my stays abroad have been through the vast Jesuit network.

Lastly in regard to the project. I invite you to use the photo bar on the right to locate past entries of my time in each country. Also I am proud to have produced an educational and inspiring DVD that features individuals and organizations I have covered around the world. Much of the DVD is comprised of my own photos, videos, and interviews. So far it has been purchased by people across the country (CA, MN, NJ, & CT).

Thank you for the email. I look forward to continuing the conversation.

Marco Ambrosio

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