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Clayton State student helps Mexican orphanage

P.J. Herron, a Clayton State University graduating senior with a major in Biology, who is also a member of the university's WiStem organization, recently traveled with a group of students and CSU staff members to Guadalajara, Mexico, on a five-week study abroad assignment.

The trip allowed her to give, as well as receive.

Thanks to her actions and organizational skills, dozens of young students at an orphanage in the country were given an array of supplies to help them be more successful at school.

John Shiffert, director of university relations at CSU, said WiStem is a student organization created to increase knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics . He added that the organization is for women who are interested in building network resources in these particular subject areas.

According to Shiffert, Herron was the recipient of the 2010 WiStem research travel grant.

Prior to the trip, Herron said, group members were informed they would be visiting an orphanage that housed close to 30 children, in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Before embarking on the journey, Herron said, she decided she wanted to take school supplies to the children living in the orphanage. She then formulated a plan of action, and presented the idea to her WiStem advisor, Mary Hudachek-Buswell.

Once her plan was approved, with help from Buswell, Herron drafted publicity notices and flyers, and placed collection boxes throughout CSU's campus.

According to Herron, student members of WiStem, along with others from the study abroad program, contributed to the supplies, which included pens, pencils, erasers, highlighters, index cards, crayons, as well as other items.

Before leaving for Mexico, Herron and the other students packed their suitcases with the supplies.

"When the students arrived at the orphanage," said Herron, "the 30 children came out, very happy to see us, but not knowing we had brought any gifts."

She added that the children were elated, after learning that each of them would receive his or her own bag of school supplies. "I don't think this has ever been done [there] before," Herron said.

After graduation, following the current summer semester, Herron said, she plans to go into to forensics.