Degree: Ph.D. in Public Affairs
College/School: Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs
At 15, Christa Remington joined a humanitarian trip to Haiti that would change her life forever. She met children her own age who could not attend school because their families were too poor to afford tuition – including a 12-year-old boy who had only been to kindergarten. She saw children so eager to learn that they would work by candlelight in tents and makeshift houses made of sticks and straw. Unable to get the children’s faces out of her mind, Christa formed a non-profit organization just a few years later when she was18. THE Mission Haiti provides tuition, uniforms, shoes, books and supplies for children in the community of Cabaret. Starting with 16 children in 2010, the program has grown to provide schooling to more than 800 children this year, children known as “timoun Christa” or “Christa’s kids.”
Christa’s trips to Haiti left another lasting impact. She contracted typhoid and dengue fever, debilitating diseases that left her with permanent damage to her nervous system. Despite a daily struggle with chronic fatigue and pain, Christa went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology, her master’s degree in public administration and, this semester, her Ph.D. in public affairs, all at FIU.
Now an adjunct professor in public administration at FIU, Christa plans to continue her work in academia and her service to children in Haiti. Her main goal as a scholar? To give a voice to the voiceless.
By Amy Ellis