Violet Spotlight: Ambria Williams (CAS 24)
It’s a perfect fit for Ambria, currently a junior in NYU’s College of Arts and Sciences, who brings her background in student government, her passion for community development and her penchant for science fiction to create innovative policy frameworks. to expand access to health care for low-income people. and marginalized communities.
Science fiction may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of public service and policy-making, but Ambria insists there is untapped potential in science. examination of narrative fiction as a vehicle for innovation. As part of a class project, she is currently researching the history of science fiction in narrative medicine and how storytelling can be used to help develop policy frameworks around biomedical technologies.
“Different works of science fiction and fantasy have affected society and fostered scientific innovations. For example, Star Trek is filled with fictional technological marvels that have influenced real-world scientific developments. There is speculation that French author Jules Verne’s depictions of submarines and helicopters inspired later models of their real-life counterparts. We can learn from different storytelling principles to develop solutions to the problems we see in the world,” she said.
Ambria, who entered NYU as a liberal studies student, hopes her research project will support her ultimate dream of becoming a successful health lawyer by helping her realize how the entertainment value of storytelling can transform the health and technology industries.
Her fellowship is also a launching pad to help her achieve her goals: as part of the inaugural cohort of Voyager Fellows, she will have access to meaningful research-oriented travel opportunities (she plans to research the American healthcare system and how it compares to healthcare systems in other countries), financial aid, and opportunities to interact regularly with a wide network of public service leaders and other student beneficiaries who share the curiosity of the world and the conviction to bring about positive change.
Ambria also has a range of experiences with different internships and student clubs that have shown her the power of building community. Her leadership roles at the Liberal Studies Law Club, the Undergraduate Law Society, and the Public Policy Student Council led her to create seminars where students were introduced to different legal topics and solutions to the problems of policy to help them prepare for law school. She has also developed mentoring programs between senior and junior students. Her internships have also exposed her to emerging areas of research, including Mexican golden eagle conservation efforts and the legal and ethical implications of transplant genomics.
As a Presidential Honors student, she is studying at NYU Paris this semester, where she can put her minor in French to good use.
“I’m really excited to go there because Jules Verne and other science fiction writers are French and I also like learning about different cultures. As a first-generation student, I want to get all the experience that the university has to offer.”