M.A. Student – Class of 2021

Growing up in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, my upbringing has encouraged me to work through the challenges of living in rural, small-town America while also ‘being different’ from those around me and proudly representing my Pakistani/Kashmiri heritage and Islamic beliefs. Since I was a little girl, my parents have always encouraged me to be proud of my unique attributes and use my perspective and experiences to one day make an impact on the community I care most about. With deep ties to Pakistan and Kashmir, I always knew that I would want to focus my efforts in South Asia one day.

While at Dickinson College, I studied both economics and philosophy with the hope of using both fields in my future development goals. To gain development experience, I interned with the Vital Voices Global Partnership on their Economic Entrepreneurship VV Fellows Program to support women-run SMEs as a monitoring and evaluation intern while also researching how to make shifts in communities societal norms can create challenges. After graduation, I worked in Lahore, Pakistan with the World Health Organization, EPI (The Expanded Programme on Immunization), and Pakistan’s Government on measles and polio vaccination campaigns. While working in the field, I witnessed a multitude of challenges that are not only rarely discussed but often forgotten in development initiative agendas. After my time abroad, I recognized the need to further study health-related challenges and spent this past year in London, obtaining a Master’s at the London School of Economics. I organized my dissertation around the questions I had after working abroad and returning to the U.S., who was also facing a measles outbreak. I explored the similarities of vaccination refusal/hesitancy discourse in Pakistan and the U.S., and how these attitudes are expressed can ultimately affect broader health outcomes.

Now that I have explored the challenges of reaching positive health outcomes, I hope to explore how to create solutions for global health-related issues and explore the advantages and disadvantages of entrepreneurship, grassroots initiatives, policy, and aid. I am excited to use the Global Thought Program’s multidisciplinary curriculum to explore the varying ways to create global solutions.