Kelly Schulz is a 2011 MPH graduate. She was in the Maternal and Child Health program and the Global Health Concentration.
Where are you currently employed and what is your position?
Springhill Consulting Group; Analyst
In what way did the education and training you received in the Global Health concentration prepare you for your professional experience?
My project with Save the Children in Nepal specifically prepared me for my position as I am now doing qualitative research and analysis. Both my knowledge in the health care field as well as my ability to process information and clearly present it have been invaluable assets for my current position.
What about the Global Health concentration at UIC made its greatest impact on you?
Learning about Global Health forced me to look at the whole world rather than just the very wealthy country that I am fortunate enough to have been born in. I began to think of the economic and health disparities between the developed world and the developing world as a serious social justice issue. Second, I learned that there are so many different and beautiful cultures in the world. Respecting culture and finding a way to work with it to improve health is essential to successfully rolling out a health initiative or program.
What was unique about UIC’s Global Health program?
Some great aspects of UIC’s program are the strong passion and enthusiasm of the students as well as the presence of faculty who have actually worked in the field and are willing to help students get into the field.
What advice would you give to current global health students?
Figure out a way to travel to the developing world. It is worth applying for scholarships and making other sacrifices. Having the actual experience will change you as a person in ways that hours in a classroom never will. My experience in Nepal and Tanzania completely changed my perspective of the world as well as helped me to become stronger, braver, and more inspired to impact change in the world.
Kelly was the recipient of a Douglas Passaro Global Horizons Scholarship. She completed her practicum with Save the Children Nepal during the summer of 2010. Kelly worked with Saving Newborn Lives, a program started in 2000 to address the high infant mortality rate in the country.
In what way did this experience enhance or change your career goals?
Working in Nepal really impacted me in regard to the level of health care I wanted to work in. Previously, I considered becoming a clinician and working in direct care. However, my Passaro experience steered me towards work on a larger systems level, through policy and countrywide program implementation.
What was the most valuable thing you learned through your work funded by the Passaro award?
One of the important things that I learned in my work was to be flexible and patient. While I was there, I had to adjust to a not-so-strict schedule and the confusion that comes with not speaking the language. Experiencing these challenges while trying to complete a project in six weeks, was difficult, but I think that it helped me to plan efficiently and think on my feet.
How did your perspectives or worldview change as a result of this experience?
The change in my perspective was exemplified in a conversation that I was having with co-workers. I cited my experience in Kathmandu regarding lack of infrastructure and sanitation services, when discussing the idea of privatizing government services. One of my co-workers said, “Wow, you really have a wide range of perspectives. You are able to look at something from all angles.” I feel that the experience of working, living, and problem solving in a place that was completely out of my comfort zone has allowed me to view the world more comprehensively.