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Millicent Smith had seen first-hand the HIV-AIDs scourge in Africa, the degradation of women in Delhi, India, and the tears of refugee immigrants in Chattanooga, reports a recent article by the Times Free Press. She wanted to help these people, but felt challenged since she did not have a career as a nurse or a doctor.

It became clear to Smith that collecting and retelling the stories of embattled people around the world was just as important as dispensing medical care. At mid-career, Smith decided to go back to college to pursue a master’s degree in international journalism at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Smith continues to make a difference by listening to the hearts of the hurting and is currently working on women’s advocacy policy initiatives at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and reporting on sex trafficking in Tennessee and Georgia for an article in the Times Free Press later this year.