This year’s student spotlight is on current junior, Grace Lassiter, who will have an incredibly unique opportunity to intern with the World Health Organization at their European Office for Investment for Health and Development in Venice, Italy, this coming summer. Grace, a Cultural Studies major in the College of Arts and Sciences, will be working on a project on Public Health Aspects of Migration in Europe (PHAME). The main objectives of the project are to provide technical assistance to Member States in their efforts to respond to acute and sudden fluxes of migrants. The program works to strengthen health system preparedness to better tackle emergency-related migration. She will be aiding the program in identifying the health needs and service gaps that need to be addressed in countries facing massive migration related to emergency situations.
Grace was first exposed to the realm of global health through her experience abroad with the School for International Training (SIT)’s program in Geneva, Switzerland. As a Connelly Delouvrier Scholar, Grace traveled to both Switzerland and Morocco as part of her study abroad program. Grace did a comparative healthcare study in Morocco and realized the need that existed for the underserved populations to be provided reliable medical care. Grace explained the impact of her experience in Geneva: “My abroad experience embodied both the cultural and medical aspects of my academic interests, enabling me to study different models of public health systems in developed, developing, and transitional countries.” While abroad, Grace conducted an interactive research project on the public health challenge of rheumatic heart disease, a neglected disease in marginalized communities with inadequate access to healthcare. She continued to explain that the intensive study of preventable disease sparked an interest in her to study the underserved. She consequently sought out an opportunity to work with the World Health Organization and was able to set up an internship with their Venice office.
Grace explained that when she applied for the Connelly Delouvrier Scholarship for study abroad, she had no idea what the future would bring. She thus encourages all students to take chances and be adventurous, as you never what opportunities lie ahead and where they could lead. Grace credits the Honors Program with the academic rigor required for her achievements thus far. She also says that the Honors Program provided experiences and connections that ultimately helped her with both her study abroad experience and with her internship. Grace thanks the Honors Program and the Connelly Foundation for providing her with the opportunity to study abroad and discover her true passions. Without that experience, she would not have the ability or the drive to truly ignite change in the global healthcare setting.
Written by Newsletter Co-Editor, Margaret Shull, LAS '16. Margaret is receiving a degree in French and Francophone Studies and Honors, with a concentration in Ethics and Healthcare.