Rice University

Rice University Center for Civic Leadership

2018 Loewenstern Fellows


Michelle Dai (Jones '20, Chemistry, Philosophy) interned with Child Family Health International this summer in Cordoba, Argentina for nine weeks. There, she learned about the universal healthcare system and public policy within Argentina. She rotated among various specialties at provincial hospitals and outpatient clinics in order to better understand the specific health concerns of Argentina residents; in particular, she focused on the role of primary care and preventative outreach programs within both rural and urban healthcare contexts. She particularly enjoyed the two weeks she spent seeing gynecologists implement the recently instituted "programa nacional de salud sexual y procreación responsable"; it was especially valuable learning from gynecologists and having discussions with them during a summer when the legalization of abortion was being debated in the Argentinian legislative bodies. Besides learning from medical professionals this summer, she also took Spanish classes and Argentina history/culture classes, as well as attended lectures contextualizing the Argentinian healthcare system. Her biggest takeaway this summer was how important public policy is in determining the overall health of entire populations.



Ellie Dullea (Brown ’20, Kinesiology: Health Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) interned through Child Family Health International in the Philippines this past summer. After spending a week in Manila discussing the dichotomy between the public and private healthcare system, she was placed on Tablas Island in the Romblon Province. During her 8 weeks on the island, she investigated the healthcare challenges associated with rural health clinics on remote islands in the Philippines. Many rural hospitals and primary health care clinics lack proper supplies, personnel, and infrastructure to provide quality holistic care. She worked alongside healthcare teams comprised of Barangay health workers and nurses in public health outreach activities such as Dengue epidemic prevention, water sanitation, and chronic disease management.  She saw first-hand how public health clinics respond and rise above the challenges imposed by their unique geography and lack of resources.



Janice Jean (Brown ’20, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) worked with the Pangea Network this summer in Nairobi, Kenya, for eight weeks. She worked with the Kenyan Women’s Network as a revolving funds researcher, finding ways to improve the efficiency, monitoring and evaluation systems of the micro-financing and micro-lending program. She traveled to Western Kenya to visit women cooperatives and their businesses, observed program trainings and interviewed some of the women. Her work consisted of creating beneficiary and active micro-loan trackers to keep the cooperatives actively engaged and ensure continuous repayment. Janice also created templates for the better organization and analysis of data collected from surveys. Through this experience, Janice worked with a women-led and driven team, and gained insight to the feminization of poverty.



Talia Kramer (Wiess ‘19, Civil and Environmental Engineering) worked as the research intern for the Safe Water Schools Program at Fundación Cántaro Azul A.C. The Safe Water in Schools program takes a holistic approach to water consumption for schools that lack access to clean water. The program works to install rainwater harvesting and purification systems through a participatory process that directly involves the educational community (students, teachers, and families) including a pedagogical component that fosters healthy water consumption, hygiene, and nutritional habits, to reduce gastrointestinal illness, diabetes, and obesity. Through the summer, Talia helped in the pre-installation work including visiting 21 schools to diagnose the technological needs for each school. At each school she visited, she made sure to include the faculty and students in the work we were doing whether it was through conversation, a more formal introduction, or inviting the students to watch water quality analyses. One of the biggest challenges was convincing stakeholders that it is worth the extra effort to change the status quo instead of continuing to use non-treated water systems. Talia had an incredible summer interacting with stakeholders, learning about the design process, and experiencing how non-profits work.


Mackenzie Kubik (McMurtry ‘19, Policy Studies, Chemistry, Latin American Studies, Poverty Justice and Human Capabilities) worked with two organizations in Lesvos, Greece: Refugee4Refugees and Showers for Sisters. Refugee4Refugees focused on boat spotting and emergency response on the island, while Showers for Sisters worked to provide women with an off-site location for safe hygiene maintenance. Mackenzie also conducted independent social research on the relationship between humanitarian aid delivery and gender on the island. She enjoyed having the opportunity to work with multiple organizations and meet people from all around the world. She hopes to bring the lessons she learned about diversity and acceptance to her work with organizations like the Women’s Resource Center on campus.


Amy Kuritzky (Sid Rich ’19) interned with the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development in Calca, Peru. The organization works with local farmers in the Andean region to promote nutrition and ecological farming practices. Amy served on a research team of other undergraduates and graduate students, conducting a study on market access for small organic farmers. Through her research, she gained a better understanding of how food systems are an intersection of so many different social issues – such as environmental protection, public health, cultural awareness, economic development, and gender equality. As an environmental science and anthropology major, she was also excited to learn about a new culture and see how people value organic farming differently in different locations. In addition to gaining experience with community-based research methods, she also gained critical insight on the potential and limitations of international NGO work.


Sarah Lasater (Lovett ’20, Social Policy Analysis) interned with Child Family Health International (CFHI) this summer in Córdoba, Argentina for seven weeks in their Primary Care and Social Medicine Program. She spent two weeks shadowing different divisions of a local public hospital and interned for five weeks with the State Ministry of Health, where she rotated through and assisted in ministry meetings, laboratories, outreach clinics, and the epidemiology department. Through this work, she explored the applications of Argentina's public health policy and universal healthcare system. Furthermore, Sarah improved her fluency through advanced Spanish and cultural classes that deepened her understanding of, communication, and engagement with the host community. Sarah learned about the intersection of economics, policy, community health and medicine in Córdoba compared to that of her home community, and about Argentina's deeply complex political and cultural history. She also broadened her global perspectives and gained new friendships and connections in Córdoba through her host family, CFHI cohort, and Córdoba Spanish-English groups. She visited and learned about Argentina's diverse landscapes and traditions, and has acquired a taste for Argentinian empanadas, mate dulce, and Salta's real peñas.


Caroline Lee (Jones ‘19, Cognitive Sciences and Policy Studies) spent her summer working as a Research Analyst Intern at Collective Responsibility in Shanghai, China. Collective Responsibility is an advisory firm that focuses on understanding issues in China related to sustainability and community development. Caroline completed an analysis of the Chinese healthcare system by engaging in interviews with stakeholders including patients, physicians, government officials, and private-sector partners. She especially gained insight into the issues that Chinese patients face in receiving patient-centered and longitudinal care due to issues including overcrowding, migration, and healthcare capacity. She most enjoyed the opportunity to learn directly from a diverse variety of community members in urban and rural areas in China. Find the link to the final report here.



 Meredith McCain is a junior at Duncan College majoring in political science and French studies. This summer, she interned at Research Triangle Institute International’s Senegal GOLD Program in Dakar, Senegal. The GOLD (Governance for Local Development) Program, which is funded by USAID and operated by RTI International, works with government organizations, nonprofits, elected officials, and citizens throughout Senegal to strengthen local governance by increasing the capacity of local governments to provide basic services (healthcare, education, sanitation, and food security) and by improving community participation. As an intern, Meredith collected success stories for the program in GOLD's partner communities, wrote a guide for the project's primary governance evaluation barometer, compiled 'toolkits' for other community engagement tools, and used photography as a means of gender inclusion in the project's communication materials. She enjoyed learning about the inner workings of community development while experiencing everyday life in Dakar.



Miranda Morris (McMurtry '19, Policy Studies, Visual and Dramatic Arts: Studio Art, premed) spent the summer serving Projects Abroad as a public health intern in San Pedro, Belize, where she addressed health disparities on the island by running public health campaigns, organizing a health fair for the community, and running three weekly mobile clinics in central, accessible locations. Because there was only one free clinic on the island, the diabetes/hypertension mobile clinics where she provided free health check-ups to test blood pressure and blood sugar were well-used by the community, where noncommunicable diseases are prevalent. One of her personal projects was a public health campaign on HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention in which she partnered with the National AIDS Commission of Belize on National HIV Testing Day to distribute educational materials and promote HIV testing at various testing sites on the island. Her second major project was organizing the local health fair that brought multiple free services from the mainland to the community, including HIV testing, kidney urinalysis, pap smears, blood pressure/blood sugar testing, and information on mosquito-borne diseases. She enjoyed learning about holistic paradigms of health, taking Spanish classes, engaging with her host family, and getting to know the warm, tight-knit community of San Pedro.



Rohan Palanki (Jones ’19, Bioengineering) served with Child Family Health International (CFHI) for seven weeks during Summer 2018 in Accra, Ghana. In collaboration with the Children’s Hospital of Accra, he studied how medical professionals provide care in a resource-poor environment and overcome social determinants that lead to illness in pediatric populations, while also engaging in public health outreach at local schools. Furthermore, working with the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, he crafted strategies and developed media platforms to spread awareness and publicize the reproductive health services offered for women in the community. Through rigorous, community-based research and service, Rohan developed a holistic understanding of how socioeconomic conditions influence health outcomes for women and children, learned the basics of a local Ghanaian dialect (Twi), and even climbed the tallest mountain in West Africa.



Amani Ramiz (Brown ‘19, Cognitive Sciences, Civic Leadership) spent seven weeks in Cordoba, Argentina shadowing an internal medicine team in San Roque Hospital. This was a Child Family Health International program, an organization she worked with the summer prior. San Roque was known as the only Spanish hospital, so no physicians or residents spoke English. Yet she overcame her initial hesitation and grew more comfortable speaking Spanish at home and in the hospital. Amani loved attending asados(outdoor grilling) with locals, making empanadas with her host mom, and drinking Yerba mate tea the physicians. Her Spanish, especially medical, has greatly improved in Argentina.



Ricky Robinson (Baker ’20 Biochemistry) served with Child Family Health International in Córdoba, Argentina for 9 weeks. As a Loewenstern Fellow, he interned at Hospital Cordoba which specializes in the treatment of diabetes. He took part in helping out with administrative tasks as well as voluntarily teach patients some English. In addition to this, he studied the Argentine health care system in the form of lectures and independent studies and contributed to the hospital personnel’s understanding of the health care system in the U.S. Outside of the hospital, Ricky was heavily engaged with the local community. He spent most of his free time helping locals practice their English. Ricky greatly enjoyed engaging with the local community and improving his Spanish through numerous interactions with the community he was immersed in.


Annum Sadana (Baker ’20, Social Policy Analysis) served in Lesvos, Greece for 9 weeks. Annum served through Omprakash with Refugees4Refugees for 5 weeks and served with Showers4Sisters and conducted independent research for the remainder of her time. Refugees4Refugees serves the refugee population of Moria camp as well as new arrivals to Lesbos. In Lesbos, worked to cover Search And Rescue (SAR) operations and general site support during her time with Refuge4Refugees. In her work with Showers4Sisters, she helped transport women and children to a safe space with basic hygiene services that are lacking in Moria camp. She also conducted interviews with women to hear directly about the safety, hygiene, and reproductive issues they face in the camp. Annum gained a closer look at the realities of refugee life and the nuanced health issues that plague refugees such as mental health and trauma, access to healthcare, and the politicization of health. Beyond a health perspective, she learned about the complex dynamics between large and small NGOs, the experiences of asylum seekers, a first-hand experience of the anti-migrant sentiments in Europe, and began to learn some informal Arabic which she will continue back at Rice.



Megha Sheth (Wiess ’19, Biochemistry and Cell Biology) worked with CFHI this summer as an intern at the children’s hospital in Accra, Ghana and the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). She worked alongside healthcare professionals to examine social determinants of health such as living conditions, nutrition, and water and sanitation, and to explore the workings of the country’s healthcare system. She worked with doctors, nurses, and patients in the outpatient and emergency departments of the hospital as well as nutrition rehabilitation unit. Megha also helped implement mobile school clinics to assess the health of school children and engage them on thematic topics such as sanitation, diseases like dysentery and cholera, nutrition, and contraception. At PPAG, she worked with nurses and volunteers to spread awareness of sexual health and reproductive rights for Ghana’s youth.




Serena Tohme (Wiess ’19) is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities. As a Loewenstern Fellow, she worked with Refugee4Refugees (R4R) in Lesvos, Greece. There, she explored the complexities of the European refugee crisis through interactions with asylum seekers and NGO leadership, as well as attending official meetings of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). With R4R, she engaged in emergency response to violent outbreaks at Moria refugee camp, taught swimming classes for refugees, collected census information and distributed hygiene supplies in the overflow section of Moria, and participated in boat spotting for asylum seekers arriving to Greece via the sea. As an Arabic speaker, she had the opportunity to explore the state of mental health of refugee populations through direct conversations, as well as learn about the inadequate response to the mental health crisis on Lesvos.



Anson Tong (Wiess '20,  Cognitive Sciences) spent 10 weeks in Shanghai, China this summer as a Healthcare Research Analyst for Collective Responsibility, a strategic advisory firm. She helped to author an in-depth research report examining major issues in the Chinese healthcare system as well as health technology innovation as part of the solution. Working in China gave her the opportunity to learn about a complete different health system, interview physicians, patients, and other key stakeholders, and more broadly learn about China and what it's like to live abroad. Find the link to the final report here.



Margaret Wang (Will Rice ‘20) served with Collective Responsibility this summer in Shanghai, China for ten weeks. In Shanghai, she worked as a research intern, working directly with both the community partner as well as community members in a project involving healthcare and healthcare technology in both rural and urban areas of China. She collected data from the community and wrote a comprehensive report analyzing the current healthcare infrastructure and state of healthcare technology in China. In interacting directly with community members, this internship provided her the opportunity to develop her skills in the public health sector while serving and learning more about the individual interests of those around her. Find the link to the final report here.


Moriah Wilson (Baker '19, Biochemistry and Cell Biology) served with the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) in Jinja, Uganda for nine weeks. She worked with Njeru Health Centre III which is an empowered, self-motivated health community aiming to provide sustainable, adequate, and quality health services to those in the surrounding communities. Her work included collaborating with staff members to update and organize their manual health information system. Additionally, in order to support their efforts to eventually transition to a digital system, she taught computer skills to staff and produced an instruction manual for future reference. She enjoyed being immersed in a new culture and developing cross-cultural relationships.