When I first moved to Athens from my hometown of Alpharetta, I was completely undecided about my program of study. Now that I’m entering my fourth year here at the University of Georgia, I’m proud to have a foot in both the liberal arts and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) with my international affairs and statistics majors.
As a Vinson Fellow working with the Institute of Government’s International Center, I explored how humanitarian cluster coordination can affect access to healthcare in refugee camps. Humanitarian clusters are groups of nongovernmental and international relief organizations which work with the national government to coordinate humanitarian relief. Effective coordination among humanitarian clusters is critical to how well refugee camps function and directly affects the living conditions for the people housed there.
As student interested in using data science to drive progress in public health, the Vinson Fellowship was perfect for me. My project catered directly to my interests and needs, as it involved using data to study a public health and environmental problem and as it showed me the type and rigor of work in public service.
When I wrote my first blog in the Beyond the Classroom series, I said I hoped to apply a lens—a student’s perspective—to the intricacies of state and local government. Today, as I read back on my first post again, I realize that I created a new lens instead.