When Jonny finished his undergraduate degree in Social Thought and Political Economy at UMASS Amherst, he didn’t know what he wanted to do. Prior to the completion of his degree, however, Jonny had fulfilled his internship requirement by traveling abroad and volunteering in Peru (with an organization called ProWorld), installing Cleaner Burning Stoves in the rural highlands of the Sacred Valley, outside Cusco. He loved everything about the experience, including the organization, and ended up accepting an offer to work with them the following summer.
What was supposed to only be a three-month summer job, ended up turning into a seven-year-long, fulfilling career of living and working in Peru, Belize, and Mexico, managing and implementing development projects, and running service learning programs for thousands of volunteers and groups around the world.
As someone who had an opportunity to be involved in serving under-resourced populations and living in developing, international communities, Jonny was able to see firsthand some of the unfair, and at times devastating realities that poverty and inequality can create in a community. He and other participants worked on various projects to help fill gaps that the public and private sectors were unable to support, including health care, environmental protection, small business development, and other areas.
Through the outreach they performed, it became obvious that health care was one of the areas needed most throughout the developing world and was also one of the most requested. When bringing groups of doctors and medical students into the communities, they would sometimes get hundreds of patients a day lining up to receive even the most basic medical attention. It was around then that Jonny began to develop a keen interest in health care, as he saw how big of a need it really was.
At the time I knew that I had an interest in health care, though I didn’t want to study to be a doctor or nurse, and my understanding of Public Health was still relatively limited. The lack of adequate health care remained visible throughout my time in Latin America, and I realized that I was passionate about wanting to fill that need.”
Needless to say, when Jonny finally decided to return to school, and pursue his Master’s in Public Health, he chose to focus on Global Health and Health Disparities. One of the reasons Jonny chose Colorado State was because they offer the opportunity to infuse Anthropological courses into the study of public health, which aligned with his Global Health interests.
“Overall, CSU has been great in supporting my educational goals. As an example, I was able to apply my education to a practicum this past summer in Mexico, working on an epidemiological study on Diabetes in a poor urban community. Immediately after completing my first year, I took what I learned in class directly to the field. Overall, CSU was a good choice for me to pursue my MPH.”