Gloria Hong recently graduated from Harvard University, where she studied Chemistry and Visual and Environmental Studies (Film). With diverse interests in social empowerment, filmmaking, and medicine, she was a part-time researcher studying cancer molecules and part-time mentor for high school students eager to learn about filmmaking. This year, however, she plans to make a film with blind students in Barbados as a Fulbrighter before applying to medical school. Growing up in Los Angeles as an immigrant has helped her realize the difficulties that many students face growing up in low-income neighborhoods and the need for empowerment among disadvantaged youth. By helping other students find their voices in filmmaking, she hopes to encourage them to overcome the barriers and find their roads to success.
She joined ETI after meeting Sara through a class that encouraged undergrads to work with and produce films for local NGO’s. It was the perfect opportunity for her to see how film could be used as a tool for social impact. Just the year before, she had gone to South Africa to make a film about people living with HIV. The challenge there however was that as the filmmaker, she held the pen to write a story that she had never experienced herself. Working with Sara however was different, in large part due to the warm welcome that she received from Sara and other members of ETI. Open conversations about issues such as the lack of accessible transportation or equal education for the blind community has helped her to understand, albeit to a limited extent, the depth of the barriers that they face, and more importantly, inspired her to join ETI in its efforts for a better change.