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Jessica Ruggiero

Jessica Ruggiero

Jessica is a 2014 MPH graduate from the Community Health Sciences Division with a Behavioral Sciences/Health Promotion Concentration. Jessica completed her practicum through the Peace Corps Master's International Program and served as a Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer in Botswana September 2012-October 2014.  Jessica helped to implement a Life Skills curriculum at the primary school where she worked. Additionally, she carried out various life skills related programs and activities focused on HIV education and risk reduction, general health and wellness education, and preparing students for their future educational and life goals.

What was the most valuable thing you learned through your global professional experience?

I learned to believe in myself and to accomplish goals with few resources and minimal assistance from community counterparts.

How did this experience prepare you for work in public health?

It gave me the opportunity to put into practice the theories and skills I learned in the classroom. I learned the importance of creative thinking and flexibility and always having at least two back-up plans.

How did your perspectives or worldview change as a result of this experience?

My perspectives of the world will forever be altered. Primarily, I realized that however much time and interest I put into a new culture, I will never know every aspect of that culture. We must realize that we are outsiders. We may become close friends, and even included as family members, but the people from those places have an invaluable lifetimes’ worth of knowledge and experience that we will never have. I learned to trust in their intuitiveness and expertise.

In what way did this experience enhance or change your career goals?

I hadn’t really considered working in a global capacity until after I returned from Peace Corps, and those jobs seemed the most interesting and important to me. This experience will hopefully allow many new career opportunities for me, should I choose to work globally.

What advice would you give to current global health students?

Dive in! Find what you love and live it!

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