I spent the last summer in Guatemala working with a health systems non-governmental organization (NGO) called Wuqu’ Kawoq on a monitoring and evaluation project for their nutrition program.

This project was well aligned with my background in medical anthropology and global health in Latin America, and my interest in making public health programs work better. My experience really reemphasized the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to the social challenges I want to tackle.

When I returned to Vanderbilt, I was excited to begin to engage with the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures (TFC) because I wanted to learn more about approaches to poverty alleviation outside of my own disciplines, and work on projects with like-minded peers that would have serious impact.

To that end, I’m leading a group back to Guatemala through Project Pyramid to continue this partnership with Wuqu’ Kawoq. We’ll be working on starting a social enterprise to create new sources of funding so that the organization can care for even more indigenous people in Guatemala.

I’ve also been working on the creation of the Special Projects and Consulting (SPAC) team at the TFC.

I didn’t see any other place on campus where students interested in social impact could come together across disciplines to collectively work on solving real problems, with local organizations doing good work in our community.

I’m thrilled to be working with the TFC to fill that gap and grateful to be a part of this organization that’s so good at saying yes to students who want to color outside the lines.