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by Maura King Scully

The first year of college can be tough: challenging coursework, plus a whole new environment, new people and new routines. It can be tough…unless you’ve met and mastered far bigger challenges. That was the case for Evaudie Paul ’20. Originally from Haiti, she survived the 2010 earthquake that devastated that country, killing 300,000 people. Then, following her parents’ divorce, she relocated to Brockton in 2013—a city where she knew no one and didn’t speak the language.

“It was very difficult for me, because I couldn’t express myself,” Paul explains. “I was so shy about trying speaking English, but I made myself start conversations. I would ask people to speak slowly. And I watched a lot of TV and took notes on expressions I could use.”

Paul brought that same drive to her studies at Brockton High School. “I always wanted to do great in school, and my teachers were very supportive of me,” she continues. And no doubt they had a great pupil: Paul graduated with a 4.1 grade point average. Outside of school, that drive led her to become certified as an interpreter, a skill she used to help other Haitians acclimate. She began interning as a translator at Brockton Neighborhood Health Center community clinic. “Being a bridge between the patient and the doctor gave me new understanding,” she notes. The job also served as a window into what Paul hopes is her future profession: medicine.

“I want to be a doctor. In Haiti, I saw so many people suffer after the earthquake. Lots of people died because there weren’t doctors there to help them.”—Evaudie Paul ’20

“I want to be a doctor,” she explains. “In Haiti, I saw so many people suffer after the earthquake. Lots of people died because there weren’t doctors there to help them.”

Major Challenge

Today, Paul is a biochemistry major and reports working “very hard” in her classes. “My priority is my studies,” she says. But by no means does that make her one-dimensional. Paul has a part-time job on campus, working as an office assistant in the Summer@Stonehill Pre-College Program, a selective college-credit bearing experience for rising high school juniors and seniors and graduating seniors. She joined the Distributive Education Clubs of America. “We work on things like interviewing and public speaking,” she says.

Paul also joined the makeup crew for the Stonehill Theatre Company fall production. In February, she took to the stage, performing in the student one-act plays. It wasn’t her first time acting, however. “When I was in Haiti, I used to act, but it wasn’t something I was able to do in high school,” she says. “I really enjoyed it.”

Through Think. Act. Lead., the College’s comprehensive mentorship program, Paul has attended seminars on leadership and time management. “In January, they held a career planning conference, where graduates came to speak about all different fields. I met a physician assistant there who invited me to watch a surgical procedure,” she says.

In addition, Paul applied and was accepted to the Career Development Center’s first Boston Externship program, which replicates the highly successful New York City program. Students spent March break meeting with successful alumni in a range of professional settings in Greater Boston to gain insight into a variety of career opportunities. “We started meeting early in the spring semester,” she notes. “We were each responsible for researching one company that we’re going to visit and presenting it to the group. The program was a great opportunity to practice networking.”

Roads Not Taken

Stonehill was by no means Paul’s only option. She was also accepted at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and went to visit that flagship campus. “It was so big,” she says. “And I wanted to keep working as an interpreter. When I looked into it, however, I learned there weren’t many Haitians in Amherst. So, I decided to stay in Brockton and come to Stonehill.”

Looking back now, Paul says she is confident she made the right decision. “The professors at Stonehill are wonderful. They always have time for you. And there are so many opportunities here.” She was disappointed, however, to learn that one of those opportunities, SURE (Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience), is open only to rising juniors and seniors, as she thinks rising sophomores could use SURE to see if they are interested in research. But it takes more than that to hold Paul back: She’s applied to take part in a summer research program at UMass Medical School in Worcester.

She also hopes to make a trip to Haiti this summer, her first since emigrating. “I miss my family and my friends,” Paul says. “My dad and my two older sisters are in Haiti. I think—I hope—there will be time during the summer, so I can go.” One thing is for sure: If there’s a way to make it work, Evaudie Paul will find it.

To read the Boston Globe article featuring Evaudie, visit here.