You are here: Home / News / Student Spotlight: Abigail Dorow on Service and Research in Hispanic Communities

Student Spotlight: Abigail Dorow on Service and Research in Hispanic Communities

Abigail Dorow is an Honors senior majoring in Spanish and a leader in the English Language Learners (ELL) program at McKinley High School.

Abigail Dorow is an Honors senior majoring in Spanish and a leader in the English Language Learners (ELL) program at McKinley High School. 

The ELL program is supported by the Honors College’s Project 225 — a student-led service organization. ELL provides supplemental instructional services to students who are learning  English at McKinley High School. These students come from all over the globe and are paired with LSU foreign language students on a weekly basis to assist with in-class instruction and translation help, and a lot of the students in the program are Spanish speaking. 

Dorow moved around a lot when she was growing up and really found her passion when she started to learn Spanish. The kids are adjusting to a whole new culture and way of life while also trying to learn a new language to be able to adjust to their new community. She felt like she knew some of what they were going through, and, in that way, she could help make the transition and high school a little less rough. “I really admire what these kids do and what they go through to get here. Some have lived in many different countries and have had to leave most, if not all, of their family behind, so I wanted to volunteer because I feel like it's the least I could do to help them create a strong foundation in their journey toward adulthood,” Dorow says.

The ELL program also connects students to opportunities at BRCC, LSU, and other places where they can achieve long-term career goals. Helping students with career planning has been Dorow’s favorite part of working with the program.

Dorow’s service with ELL will carry over into her research. She plans to write an Honors thesis researching maternal death rates between the U.S. and Spain. ​The U.S. has recently had a rising maternal mortality rate (MMR) that's been higher than most other developed nations, like Spain. She wants to research what practices Spain uses during pregnancy, birth, and post-partum to prevent the life-threatening complications we see take too many mothers postpartum in the U.S. Particularly as women of color are 3-4 times as likely to die during labor/postpartum, this issue calls for both a more empathetic cultural understanding and active solution. Dorow expects to find that language barriers contribute to these issues and, hopefully, we'll find some ways to better labor/postpartum for women across the U.S. and keep more women with their babies. 

Upon graduation, Dorow will be applying to medical school to further her knowledge about women's healthcare and better serve as an advocate for women and for the Spanish-speaking population. She plans to study the rising maternal mortality rate of the U.S. and provide preventative OB/GYN care for underserved patient populations. She also hopes to bring awareness of maternal mortality and healthcare disparities across the globe.