Kathryn Irene Evans
On Saturday, June 22, Katie Evans, an International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) staff person was killed in a bear attack while hiking on a weekend outing with her husband and friends. The attack occurred on a remote trail in the Carpathian Mountains about 75 miles north of Bucharest, Romania.
Katie served a three-month internship with IOCC during the summer of 2006. Upon completing her Master of Science in Public Health that same year, she accepted a position with IOCC as HIV/AIDS project manager in Romania.
“The entire IOCC family sends our thoughts and prayers to Katie’s husband, John, her parents and family,” said Executive Director & CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou. “Katie was committed to serving the most vulnerable in her work with the HIV/AIDS program. We are confident that her selfless outreach for the betterment of others will continue for decades to come. We celebrate Katie’s exemplary pilgrimage and we will follow her example in every phase of IOCC’s service.”
Kathryn Evans (right) with Anemarie, IOCC/Romania employee,
at the IOCC/Romania office.
Bucharest, Romania Stepping off the plane in Bucharest, Romania, I was excited by the energy of a new city to explore and a new challenge to undertake; an internship that would complete my Masters degree in Public Health. That evening, watching the nightly news broadcast in a language I had never heard and in a country where I had never been, I saw the effects that an unusually rainy spring could have on a country that is home to the great Danube River delta.
The Danube had collected excessive spring rain, and an usual spring melt throughout Europe had deposited rushing waters throughout the southern regions of Romania, causing the river to rush over its bed and, in some areas, to flood large swaths of land 11 kilometers wide. On my third day in Romania, I accompanied two IOCC staff members on a tour of flooded areas I had seen on TV. We talked with displaced people and assessed their needs and extent of the damage. The information that we collected on this day, together with information gathered from other aid organizations in Romania, resulted in IOCC providing thousands of hygiene kits and blankets to affected families.
Having gotten my first taste of the relief work done by IOCC, my internship responsibilities shifted to IOCC’s largest project in the country, “Strengthening Community-Based Initiatives on HIV/AIDS and Family Violence in Romania”. Funded by USAID, this project is a unique partnership between the Romanian Orthodox Church (ROC) and IOCC, combining the influence of the ROC and the expertise of IOCC staff in order to address social issues of great importance throughout Romania.
One of my longer term projects included collaborating with IOCC staff on the development of a communication strategy that would synthesize the results from a community-based survey and the development of a Request for Grant Submission from local NGOs. The staff shared their experiences and allowed me the opportunity to personally contribute to the project.
In addition to this, I was put in charge of conducting Stakeholder Interviews with various project-related people and organizations. This work included revising surveys, coordinating survey logistics (including translation and travel), and developing a synthesized report to be used for the internal mid-project review. This project was especially rewarding, affording me the opportunity to talk with project stakeholders including field staff who implement the ideas and plans generated in the office and stakeholders from other organizations working on similar issues. The input from these stakeholders will continue to have tangible effects on the quality and long-term sustainability of project activities.
My internship with IOCC was truly a capstone experience to my academic studies. In school, I had studied theories of behavior modification and best practices for project sustainability, but it was my internship that allowed me to see these concepts in action.
Kathryn Evans served a three-month internship with IOCC in Romania during the summer of 2006. The internship was sponsored by the Coca-Cola World Citizenship Program through the University of Florida International Center. Upon completing her Masters in Public Heath in August 2006, Kathryn accepted a position with IOCC Romania as HIV/AIDS Project Manager.