Working Toward Positive Change — A Global Health Alumna Interview with Grace Galloway (WCAS 2013)

Grace Galloway, WCAS 13
Major: Psychology
Minors: Global Health, English

Grace Galloway has always known that she wanted to work internationally, to join the fight to make the world a better and more equal place.

However, she said it wasn’t until she studied abroad through the International Program Development office’s Public Health in Uganda program in 2012 that she learned how to put her interests and drive to work.

Grace Galloway hikes a volcano in Panama while working with Global Brigades

Grace Galloway hikes a volcano in Panama while working with Global Brigades.

She described her trip to Uganda as very hands-on, saying it became clear to her that any type of development work can’t happen without a healthy population.

“Global health not only influenced my career choice, it is my career choice,” Galloway said.

Galloway credited her global health classes with expanding her worldview and providing her with the language and knowledge needed to take on issues that may seem “impossible to take on.”

While completing her undergraduate degree at Northwestern, Galloway participated frequently in the Alternative Student Breaks program, which engages students in service-learning at nonprofits across the U.S. By participating in ASB, she saw first-hand the challenges and got to be part of the successes of nonprofit work.

“I would recommend taking advantage of either ASB, Peer Health Exchange or any of the other amazing service organizations on NU’s campus,” Galloway said.

During senior year, Galloway spent a lot of time at the Office of Fellowships, which she said gave her the relationships and connections to learn about international job opportunities. Her first job following graduation, working from Panama City as a program associate for a health and development organization called Global Brigades, came through her brother who had volunteered with the organization before.

While working with Global Brigades, Galloway worked with student teams of medical and public health volunteers to assist local and foreign health professionals with clinic work in rural communities. Preparing the student teams for what to expect in Panama included everything from telling them what to wear in the heat and what medications are needed to host a successful clinic, she said.

Grace Galloway stands in front of Deering Library at NU with her father (an NU alum!)

Grace Galloway stands in front of Deering Library at Northwestern with her father (an NU alum!)

In addition to her work with students, Galloway also followed up on the program’s composting latrine public health projects, which meant discussing with the local families how the latrines function as well as calculating the project’s success rates.

Galloway recently finished her two-year contract with Global Brigades and now works in southern Nicaragua as a Princeton in Latin America Fellow.

Galloway said she first heard of the Princeton fellowship her senior year at Northwestern, but didn’t apply until this year. After a long and “grueling” process, comprising an application and nearly four rounds of interviews, Galloway now works with Comunidad Connect, which combines sustainable tourism with development work.

In her time in global health and development work, Galloway has learned a vital lesson: “Change is slow. Very, very slow,” she said.

“Humans are stubborn. We make changes — often for the better — but these changes take time and adjustment,” Galloway said. “A career in community development is one of small victories and slow, but steady, changes.”

While she made a connection with Global Brigades through her brother, Galloway said all of her friends and co-workers have taken different paths to the jobs they have now — but all their paths involved networking. She said knowing how the people you know can help guide you to opportunities is key, in addition to having confidence in yourself.

“Northwestern global health students are smart, driven and well-prepared,” she said. “We need to get out there and start working toward positive change.”

 

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