Humans of Parkland: Eva Ping

Photo of Eva Ping by Emma Gray

Photo of Eva Ping by Emma Gray

Emma Gray

Editor

Eva “Elliot” Ping is a student in her final year at Parkland and is transferring to Ohio State next year to study neuroscience. She is an eating disorder survivor and now spends her time outside of school helping to educate others.

Ping originally moved to the area to go to high school, before having to leave because of an eating disorder.

“I moved to the Champaign area in 2011 and started school at the University High School in Urbana which I left because of an illness that ruined my life,” Ping says.

Ping spent four years in treatment.

“I started in January 2012 and ended treatment in April of 2016,” Ping states. “It’s the reason why I left Uni, because basically I was too sick to do school…And that’s the same story for a lot of different people.”

Now that she has recovered she is going to Parkland to get her associates before transferring to Ohio.

“After getting better I came to Parkland to get my associate’s degree. After which I will be going to Ohio State University as a neuroscience major. Which is very exciting.”

She specifically wants to look at how the brain works.

“The specific kind of neuroscience that I am going into is computational neuroscience, which is basically the study of the information processing systems of the brain,” Ping says. “I was interested in how we think and how we process information and how that can be taken and applied to things like artificial intelligence and how we can better develop technologies to better serve our purposes according to how we actually operate and process information.”

She is also involved with Project HEAL, an organization that raises money for eating disorder treatment.

“I’m a member of the central Illinois chapter of Project HEAL, which was founded this past spring,” Ping says. “Basically what we try to do is, number one raise awareness…and the second thing that we try to do is we fundraise.”

This fundraising is important because treatment can be very expensive, costing tens of thousands of dollars sometimes. One reason Ping says that treatment can cost so much is because it is such a long, intensive process.

“Eating disorder treatment is kind of complicated, there are a lot of different levels of it,” Ping says. “For people who end up in a residential program they’ll be there for several weeks to months.”

Eating disorder treatment can also be complicated because of the number of disorders that fall under it, something that Ping is working with Project HEAL to bring to public attention.

“Next week is national eating disorders awareness week, or NEDA week as we like to say,” Ping says. “Basically the week is tailored towards promoting general awareness of eating disorders and the fact that there are many different kinds outside of your typical anorexia nervosa case…And with them a lot of times comes…depression or anxiety…[or] obsessive compulsive disorder.”

One way that Ping helps is by helping to organize events and such.

“We try to do things like care packages in the winter that people can order,” Ping says. “We’ve done small little events. We work with the women’s resource center out of the U of I.”

Ping does this work to help people like herself get their lives back.

“The main goal of Project HEAL is to fund people in treatment so that more people can get better and that more people can get their lives back,” Ping says. 

Ping is also a member of the Parkland debate team, which she will be traveling with to the state tournament the weekend of March 3.