Erinn Wright conducted independent research on the prevalence of diabetes in Belize and the role various for-profit, not-for-profit and governmental entities play in promoting wellbeing. This experience allowed her to see interactions between public health and international development, her area of focus within her Social Entrepreneurship & Non-Profits BDP certificate.
Please describe your project and how you came up with the idea
Going in, all I really knew was that I wanted to enhance my understanding of how people and organizations collaborate to help solve developmental issues. My mentor proposed I help on a new initiative focused on diabetes in Belize, the number one killer there. My project focused on why the disease is so prevalent in Belize and the role NGOs, government, corporations, and the public all play in addressing health issues. I learned a lot about the important effects of policy, nutrition and culture.
What was the most rewarding aspect of your Connecting Experience?
The most rewarding part is the awareness I gained of what it takes to fight big health issues in developing countries. I was able to travel to Belize and see firsthand the action that is being taken, and lack thereof. This experience gave me insight into a world I wouldn’t have otherwise had exposure to, and will leave a lasting impact on my interdisciplinary perspective and development throughout my career.
In what ways has this Connecting Experience shaped your plans for the future?
This experience further solidified that international development work is an energizing passion of mine and something that I undoubtedly want to pursue as I move forward into my career. This project has set a foundation that I will continue to build off as I learn more about the opportunities for me to improve lives through social entrepreneurship and non-profits. I hope to continue to explore the issues that can further stagnate international development, such as the ways in which political corruption and policies affect public health in developing nations.
Discuss the relationship you had with your faculty mentor and how they helped you during this Connecting Experience.
My mentor was incredibly patient, helpful, and empowering. He was great at guiding me through my doubts and concerns. I also appreciated the readiness with which he welcomed me into the research and legacy he has been building for many years, and made me feel a part of the team.