Sierra Viands
Harpers Ferry, WV

As a self-funded Exercise Physiology student, an opportunity to live on a boat, travel along the Amazon River, and provide medicine to those who do not have access to healthcare seems impossible.

But for Sierra Viands, perseverance persisted and her dream to study in Santarém, Brazil will become a reality in the summer of 2019. It’s all possible through two travel grants from WVU: the Nancy Sanders Memorial Student Travel Grant and The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi Travel Grant.

Viands will shadow healthcare providers in remote communities along the Amazon River.

During the primary care clinics, she will learn about the healthcare system in Brazil. Other areas of study include the ethics of service abroad, global citizenship, and the history and culture of the Amazon region.

Viands said when she stepped foot on WVU’s campus she knew the opportunities were endless, and that she had to take full advantage of them.

She is dual-minoring in Child Development and Family Studies and Medical Humanities and Health Studies. She also participates in multiple student organizations.

No stranger to hard work, Viands stays busy on campus. She also serves as a Resident Assistant at WVU’s Bennet Tower where she mentors around 50 students. She is a student worker in the for WVU’s Human Gift Registry. In the summers, she works as an EMT.

To learn more about study abroad opportunities at WVU, visit