My name is Julia Alexander, and I am originally from Washington, DC. I graduated from Xavier University in May 2008, where I studied sociology and biology. I was interested in public health, but also curious about the many different social environments in which public health could be studied. With this interest, I was awarded the Brueggeman fellowship for my third year at Xavier. I traveled for the fellowship in Summer 2008, and since then have biked the Pacific Coast, moved home, done Americorps in New Orleans, and was the Trip Assistant for the Urban ASLS in 2010.
Most of my research while in my Bruggeman semester was focused on refugee issues, everything from the causes (poverty, violence, persecution) to the plethora of outcomes (refugee camps, resettlement). It was a tremendous learning experience, and I felt very connected with the issue. Over the course of many months, I searched for agencies abroad for whom I could volunteer, but unfortunately because of the delicate nature of refugees, it is very difficult to work with refugees overseas. Subsequently, I identified a community nutrition project in southeastern Kenya with whom I could volunteer. Kenya was a good destination for me because its relative political stability makes it a destination for many refugees. Regardless, I spent a number of weeks living in a small rural town at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro, and met daily with local volunteers who traveled throughout the district supplying vitamin supplements and dewormers to their neighbors. They receive funding from Kenya’s Ministry of Health, as well as UNICEF and WHO. I interacted with many different tribes and communities, learned a lot about the inception through execution of a public health initiative, and it was a truly unique experience.
What They're Doing Now
In May 2012, I will begin a two year Physician Assistant graduate program at the George Washington University.