GSSM Students Transform Lives in Cusco, Peru Through Service-Learning

April 17, 2024

HARTSVILLE, S.C. (April 17, 2024) – The South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM) proudly announces the success of its recent global learning experience in Cusco, Peru. 

A dedicated group of GSSM students and staff ventured to Cusco, Peru to participate in a service-learning project, accomplished in collaboration with the impactful MEDLIFE (Medicine, Education, and Development to Low-Income Communities) organization. Working alongside MEDLIFE, the GSSM team enacted positive changes in the communities they serve. 

“This experience has allowed me to step into other people's shoes and see life in a new perspective.” said the GSSM MEDLIFE Chapter President and GSSM student, Naisha Shah “It's important to look at the big picture and realize that even the smallest acts can have the biggest impacts. From hugging a kid to building a greenhouse, the small things matter.”  

Throughout the service-learning project, the GSSM team actively engaged in diverse activities addressing critical healthcare, education, and community development needs, guided by MEDLIFE's mission to empower the poor for equal access to healthcare, education, and a safe home. Hand in hand with local partners, they implemented sustainable solutions, fostering a lasting impact. 

The team participated in various activities, including hands-on participation in mobile medical clinics where they aided healthcare professionals in delivering care in various stations such as triage, education, general medicine, OB/GYN, pharmacy, and dental hygiene. Additionally, they collaborated with local community members on a development project aimed at enhancing infrastructure and fostering a safer environment.  

“I believe that everyone should have access to quality education and healthcare.” said Shah “The most impactful thing was that our efforts in building a greenhouse would be almost tripling a family's income, and the patients we helped would be getting further care.” 

GSSM students had the invaluable opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture and heritage of Cusco, forging meaningful connections with community members and gaining a deeper understanding of global issues. Their journey also took them to the iconic Machu Picchu, further enhancing their cultural immersion and global perspective. 

GSSM’s mission is to seek out and advance the state’s most talented students, offering a transforming education in science, mathematics, and engineering that cultivate the joy in learning and builds confidence to engage as ethical leaders with the world’s most significant issues.  

“We believe developing global learning experiences and opportunities for our students will develop their awareness and understanding of complex global issues, and the experiences will form the global competencies necessary for further study and future jobs.” said Randy LaCross, GSSM SVP for Outreach & Global Initiatives. “Our team of students experienced firsthand significant global issues, gained confidence in how to resolve challenges, and developed a deeper understanding of the complexity of global issues while participating in the MEDLIFE service-learning project. They also developed a deeper sense of the value of serving others who are in need.” 

The impact of the service-learning project extends far beyond its duration, leaving a legacy of compassion and collaboration. As GSSM continues to cultivate future leaders, the lessons learned, and experiences gained from this transformative journey will undoubtedly shape the future of its students and inspire a legacy of service and solidarity. 


- GSSM - 


About the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics 

One of the few specialized public residential high schools of its kind, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) exists to push motivated young learners beyond their perceived levels of academic ability. Founded in 1988 under the leadership of the late Governor Carroll Campbell, GSSM has consistently raised the bar for STEM education in the Palmetto State. GSSM’s two-year residential high school program—as well as its virtual high school program, summer camps, and outreach programs—all invite young people to explore the subjects they love in a diverse, inclusive, and uncommonly supportive academic environment. Here, challenge is viewed as a gateway to opportunity. GSSM students embrace the school’s rigorous education approach and begin to realize their full potential. Learn more by visiting 



MEDLIFE is a non-profit organization that partners with low-income communities in Latin America and Africa to improve access to medicine, education, and community development projects. Their goal is to achieve a world free from the constraints of poverty. They empower students and volunteers to become advocates for change by creating on-campus Chapters, volunteering in Service-Learning Trips, and supporting the Moving Mountains giving program. With this support, MEDLIFE hires and trains local staff to provide high-quality 24/7/365 patient care, community development projects, and educational workshops to empower communities in need and create life-changing experiences. Learn more by visiting