Student Profile: Meghan Casey ’15

'Holy Cross gives you the support and freedom to explore your passions — and how you're going to use them to help other people'

August 18th, 2014 by 

NAME Meghan Casey ’15

HOMETOWN North Attleboro, Mass.

ACADEMICS Self-designed global health studies major with premedical and Africana studies concentrations

EXPLORING THE WORLD During her sophomore year, Meghan was in Nairobi for a monthlong Holy Cross study abroad program. As a junior, she spent a semester studying Swahili at the State University of Zanzibar in Tanzania through a prestigious Boren Scholarship; and then studied tropical medicine and public health in Costa Rica.

A WOMAN FOR AND WITH OTHERS Meghan’s passion for public health, science, language and culture came to life in Kenya. “The first day that I stepped foot in the slum, I was shocked at the desperate conditions. I remember crying myself to sleep, wondering how life could exist in such a devastating place. Each day that passed, however, I began to feel that very life thrive within my own body. I no longer heard the trash squelching beneath my feet, saw the mud splattering over my pants, or smelled the horrid stench that had once turned my stomach inside out. I didn’t forget about these things — we should never become numb to the evidence of injustice — but my eyes opened to the everyday beauty that defines life in Kibera so much more than the hardship does. I stopped focusing on the yellow of the malnourished eyes and instead cherished their sparkle, stopped only wondering about a patient’s HIV status and instead asked about family, and stopped caring whether or not I’d gotten to shower and instead found myself, for the first time in my 19 years, freed from the chains of what I’d always been ‘expected’ to be. Although I had always known that public health was a passion of mine, this time in Kenya is where my experience and love of the beautiful Swahili language and Eastern African culture first began.”

ON CAMPUS Through the Summer Research Program and under the mentorship of Vickie Langohr, associate professor of political science, researched efforts to eradicate female genital cutting; co-chair of Fools on the Hill a cappella group; sponsorship chair of Relay for Life; site manager at Project AIDS Worcester through Students Helping Children Across Borders; chemistry peer assisted learning tutor through Academic Services and Learning Resources; and Student Government Association liaison to Medical Ministry International.

WHAT MAKES HOLY CROSS UNIQUE “There are a lot of liberal arts colleges, but with a motto of ‘men and women for and with others,’ Holy Cross gives you the support and freedom to explore your passions — and how you’re going to use them to help other people. That’s something that’s really special about this place.”

AFTER HOLY CROSS Meghan hopes to work in international health development, perhaps through U.S. government agencies like the Office of International Health in the State Department or the United States Agency of International Development. Utilizing her language skills in Spanish and Swahili, she would like to work with the Latin American and East African regions in some capacity. “I hope to be able to work with the people on the ground who are actually affected by these issues and to use my combined language, political science, and hard science background to work toward greater justice in basic health both domestically and abroad.”

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