Milligan’s Honors Program encourages students to apply academics to the real world. Many honors students choose to intern or study abroad over the summer to deepen their knowledge, engage in creative and professional work, and embrace their roles as servant-leaders. For two months this summer, senior honors student, Elinor Mullins, interned with City of Refuge Ministries in Doryumu-Shai Hills, Ghana. City of Refuge Ministries works with children and teens who have been victims of various forms of trafficking and child slavery.

As a sociology major with minors in psychology and Bible, Mullins’ interests aligned well with the opportunities she had to work with children in Doryumu-Shai Hills.

“My internship allowed me to see the rehabilitation the children went through, as well as how they processed emotional trauma,” she recounted. “That’s what I’m interested in: working with kids who have been through different types of psychological trauma.”

Mullins’ interest in overseas ministry began with an internship at Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, Maryland. There, she worked extensively with underprivileged kids in Baltimore and served on a mission trip in the Dominican Republic. Her time overseas revealed to Mullins that many of the issues she had dealt with in Baltimore were also present in the Dominican Republic. This realization guided Mullins to travel again, this time to Ghana.

During her time in West Africa, Mullins worked as a part of City of Refuge Ministries’ administrative staff. While her primary task was to train volunteers, Mullins still found plenty of time to build personal relationships with many of the children. These relationships proved to be the most meaningful part of Mullins’ time in Ghana.

“The relationships affected me the most,” she said. “Taking a huge issue, like trafficking, and relating it to one individual shows that they’re not just a statistic that you read about in a textbook—it’s one child’s life.

After spending two months in Doryumu-Shai Hills, Mullins returned home. She hopes to return to Ghana for several months after graduation before continuing her work in the inner cities of the United States.

In describing her experience abroad, Mullins offered this insight to anyone seeking out a similar opportunity.

“Really open yourself up to learn, and don’t come in with expectations,” acknowledged Mullins. “My summer looked a lot different than I thought it would, but I learned more than I could have ever possibly imagined.”

Written by Elizabeth Dykes (’21)