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Alum of the Week

Christine Brendan

Brendan Ruddy and Christy Soran

Christy Soran and Brendan Ruddy graduated from Boston College in the class of 2006 and studied at Casa in the Fall of 2004.

Only through Casa did Christy and Brendan meet, despite both attending Boston College and Brendan knowing Christy’s extended family. They were fortunate to begin their relationship while at Casa and among the amazing community of friends in Casa Romero and Silvia and at their two praxis sites.

Upon graduating from Boston College, Christy and Brendan spent a year of service in Moshi, Tanzania, where they lived in community with other volunteers. In Tanzania, Christy worked for the Nshara Community Medical Center assisting in mass vaccination campaigns, home sanitation education, and women’s and children health programs.

Having discovered her vocation for medicine in Tanzania, Christy returned to the Boston area where she worked for a regional hospital network researching quality of care while also pursuing post-baccalaureate pre-med certification. Christy completed a Master’s of Public Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2010, and is currently in her fourth year of medical school at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. While pursuing her medical education Christy has had numerous opportunities to volunteer and work with underprivileged communities in the United States and abroad. She has volunteered at needle exchange and harm reduction programs for IV drug users and sex workers. She also volunteers with a student-run free clinic for patients without insurance dealing with chronic diseases. She will be traveling to Kenya in 2014 to conduct research on disease incidence in urban slums as a Hubert Fellow at the Center for Disease Control, and she is applying to residency programs in Internal Medicine.

In Tanzania, Brendan worked for the KWIECO, a local NGO that provides direct legal aid to women and children suffering abuse and provides advocacy programs addressing women’s and children’s rights at the grassroots level in the Kilimanjaro region. Brendan’s work focused on a region-wide survey of attitudes and opinions regarding women’s and children’s rights, as well as program development for KWIECO’s advocacy work.

Brendan returned from Tanzania to pursue his law degree at Georgetown Law, where he focused his studies and work on issues of international law and domestic violence. Upon graduating from law school in 2010, Brendan served as judicial clerk to the Hon. Lynn Leibovitz at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, working primarily on major felony trials. Over the past years Brendan has applied his legal education in various legal clinics, counseling individuals unable to afford representation on legal issues of employment, immigration, and custody, as well as working on municipal homelessness policy making. Moving to Philadelphia in the fall of 2011, Brendan entered private practice with the firm Eckert Seamans, where he continues to practice.

Casa has played a significant role in Christy’s and Brendan’s lives and relationship. In addition to meeting incredible and caring friends, Casa’s immediate impact was to help Christy and Brendan successfully live in Tanzania and positively encounter some of the challenges of living abroad and in communities with substantially fewer resources as North America. Casa instilled upon them the value of personal reflection and humility when approaching new cultures and accompanying the poor. Over time, Casa has provided Christy and Brendan with perspectives and memories that help them approach their respective fields of medicine and law in a way more oriented to just relationships and in solidarity with marginalized populations. Unsurprisingly, Casa has also significantly improved their relationship. Not only do they share most of their fondest memories and friendships from college, but the aspects of community living and spirituality at Casa have helped them be better partners to one another. They continue to work together in attempting to create a pupusa as delicious as those they enjoyed in El Salvador.

In October 2013 they celebrated their wedding.

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