Global Health Alumni at Work

Middlebury's Global Health minors pursue graduate studies and careers in a variety of fields. Read below about the careers and continuing studies of some recent graduates.

Emily BensenEmily Bensen ’14
Maternal and Child Health Program Coordinator
Hope Through Health, Kara, Togo

At Middlebury I discovered what I believed in. I took courses like African Politics and Human Ecology and the readings swirled in my head and heart in a life-changing manner. The words of Dr. Paul Farmer in “Pathologies of Power” haunted me: “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that’s wrong in the world.” My exposure to global health brought me back to the ground. It gave me a venue to put my values into action. It introduced me to a practice/career/life path that was a concrete manifestation of what I believed in. If I hadn’t found global health at Middlebury, I would be lost right now. I would not be where I am now.

Ellen HalleEllen Halle ’13
Associate with I-DEV International
Nairobi, Kenya (Africa Office) 

In a broad sense, without the international exposure I gained through Global Health work and extracurriculars at Midd, I never would have moved to Nairobi, Kenya to work for I-DEV. I-DEV is a strategy consulting and financial advisory firm focused on growing and scaling small- to medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets globally. I work on the strategy side of the business, which means a lot of work with large development organizations looking to increase their private sector focus or launch social-enterprise revenue streams to decrease grant dependence. While my work is not healthcare focused, I am constantly appreciative of the many angles and perspectives of the key stakeholders involved in private sector development—governments, humanitarian agencies, private businesses and most importantly, the beneficiaries/consumers/end users themselves. As an example, I'm currently leading a project with the World Bank to assess the viability of private sector household energy interventions in refugee camps across Sub Saharan Africa. A key component of this work was to design a household survey and field study methodology to get the information from refugees that we needed to assess this viability...this design process relied heavily on the lessons learned from the global health curriculum and understanding all perspectives. 

Emmy MasurEmmy Masur ’15
Medical Student, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

I have decided to pursue a career in medicine. My global health studies at Middlebury provided the impetus for me to travel abroad and work with several health organizations. These experiences as well as the knowledge I gained in the classroom have provided me with a perspective that has directed my studies and my vision of future career in a way I may not have developed as quickly had I not participated in Middlebury's global health program.

Exposure to global health at Middlebury was so valuable for me. I was able to develop an academic background in the issues I'd followed in the news, learning to critically analyze political and developmental etiologies of public health problems as well as their proposed solutions. That Middlebury also provides opportunities for students to compliment such studies with relevant travel and work opportunities rendered this experience even more valuable.

Global health is truly interdisciplinary. It provided me with an introduction to statistics, biological health, political science, epidemiology, and development. Furthermore, the fact that this is all within the context of critical and current real world issues provides a perspective for students that emphasizes the importance of service and global citizenship.

Harriet NapierHarriet Napier ’12.5
Community Health Specialist, Partners In Health
Southeast Liberia

My passion for the field of community health, most specifically with Community Health Worker (CHW) programs, was ignited during my study abroad in India with the School for International Training (SIT). My advisor introduced me to the exciting synergies between anthropology and global community health. Though I have been passionate about issues of social justice since a young age, my anthropology and global health learning at Middlebury provided me with a framework in which to act, with sound foundations in anthropological methods and a more directed, purposeful curiosity.

I think there is incredible added value to being exposed to global health issues while concurrently pursuing academic coursework and conversation in other areas—anthropology for me, geography, biology, and education for others. It undoubtedly makes the learning that much more profound, and I believe encourages students to recognize the innumerable disciplines that uniquely impact progress in global health and international development.

Vanessa NeergheenVanessa Neergheen ’13
Graduate Student, Master of Public Health Candidate in Global Epidemiology
Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University

Work-Study Position: Research Assistant
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chronic Viral Diseases Branch
Atlanta, Georgia

I am currently pursuing my Master of Public Health in Global Epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH). Epidemiology has a strong statistical basis, so our courses here at RSPH largely focus upon quantitative methods. However, I regularly apply the critical thinking skills I developed through my liberal arts education to understand the public health topics I encounter in graduate school.

The global health courses I took at Middlebury taught me to assess health from a holistic perspective. Though my graduate-level courses have equipped me with the skills to measure public health problems, my prior experience with global health during my liberal arts education has allowed me to recognize the broader social and contextual forces that shape these issues. Being exposed to global health within my liberal arts education has significantly improved my capacity to understand and critically analyze global health issues.

Taking Medical Anthropology at Middlebury first sparked my interest in global health, and it was in this course that I discovered my passion for public health. Had I not taken this course, I am not sure what type of work I would be doing! Through the courses I took for my Global Health minor, I also became familiar with the notion that health is influenced by a diverse array of biological and social factors, which ultimately led me to pursue a certificate in Socio-Contextual Determinants of Health here at RSPH.

Sam PeischSam F. Peisch ’13.5
Research Assistant at Channing Division of Network Medicine,
Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

My education at Middlebury directly helped me with my current career, working as a researcher for a prostate cancer epidemiology group at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Having a solid background in the academic aspect of global health, combined with the numerous options the global health grants and faculty were able to offer for me to pursue my own service and independent thesis projects abroad, allowed me to secure the position I have been in since I graduated and to excel. 

Being able to learn more about the field of global and public health at Middlebury was invaluable in both my development as a socially engaged and critical thinker who seeks to improve the health of communities, and in terms of my professional development as I pursue a career in medicine and global health. Having deeply knowledgeable professors with experience working in a variety of fields at diverse institutions and in locations all around the world is something sets Middlebury apart from other similar top-tier liberal arts schools.

Naina Qayyum ’15
Research Associate at a USAID-funded consulting project
National Education Development Partners Group Secretariat and Mapping Activity

I majored in Economics, with a minor in Global health, at Middlebury. Global Health allowed me to explore the interconnectedness of the world through health. With growing population, increasing burden of disease, war, changing political dynamics, climate change, the world is faced with pressing issues where health tops the chart. Improvement in a population's health leads to positive changes in other areas such as education, poverty reduction and economic growth. Studying global health in a liberal arts environment allowed me to connect the dots between global health theories and other disciplines such as politics, history, geography, economics, and religion. The research skills that I learned and practiced during my time in college are proving beneficial in my current job as a research associate. Although my work focus in education, the approach of reading, analyzing, writing, and sharing ideas that I learned at Middlebury helps me do my job better and more efficiently.