Public health students selected for first World Vision internships

June 13, 2012
 
Ryan Cronk

Ryan Cronk
Lauren Snyder

Lauren Snyder

Lauren Snyder and Ryan Cronk, master’s degree candidates at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, have been selected for inaugural internships with the international organization World Vision. Snyder, a Master of Public Health candidate in maternal and child health, will work with World Vision’s Learning Center team in Zambia. Cronk, a candidate for the Master of Science in Environmental Engineering degree, will be part of the organization’s team in Ghana.

Bobbi Wallace, MPH, director of corporate, foundation and global partnerships at the School, said the internships will focus on ensuring that local populations have access to clean water. The arrangement marks the beginning of a long-term partnership between the School and World Vision.
“As the leading public health school, and the only one with ‘global’ in our name, we want to educate the next generation of global health leaders,” she said. “These real-world experiences help to extend studies and research, and they’re useful in augmenting the impact of nongovernmental organizations.”
The internships, valued at about $5,000 each, include airfare and other in-country expenses.
Snyder and Cronk will develop research experience as they support established World Vision projects. Cronk also will analyze water sanitation and access data collected by World Vision.
“This type of opportunity exposes us, as students, to different organizations and different ways of operating that aren’t in an academic capacity,” Snyder said. “It gives us the chance to have a great impact on these communities, as well as on research efforts.”
Snyder will work in a small community two hours from Koma, Zambia, where only 60 percent of the population has access to clean water. While there, she will evaluate hygiene practices, such as hand-washing techniques and latrine usage, which are taught by local community clubs. The goal, she said, is to identify which behavioral and motivational factors have helped community clubs make a positive difference in community attitudes about water hygiene and sanitation.
“Both sides of this partnership are very excited, eager and willing to work together,” Snyder said. She believes that, over time, students can make valuable contributions to the developing communities.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization that combats poverty and injustice through international efforts with communities, families and children. Students are not required to express a particular faith in order to be selected for the internship.
 

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UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Linda Kastleman, communications editor, (919) 966-8317 or linda_kastleman@unc.edu.