It is always exciting to visit a new place, and a GHFP-II outreach visit to Mississippi was no exception. GHFP-II staff was represented by Sylvie Rousseau, Outreach and Communications Specialist and Bob Leone, Senior Advisor for Outreach and Communications. The first stop on the itinerary was Starkville, home of Mississippi State University (MSU). The MSU Health Equity Cross-Campus Interest group hosted an information session on campus that brought together students and faculty interested in learning more about global health careers and GHFP-II opportunities in particular. The group’s mission is to encourage participants to conduct health equity research, to create and foster solutions about how to be a conduit for change, and to partner with communities to implement programs focused on health and wellness.
The info session touched on GHFP-II’s own internship and fellowship opportunities as well as opportunities with partner organizations GlobeMed (undergraduate internships), and Global Health Corps (early career fellowships). The conversation also turned to the kinds of skills, beyond the technical, required for global health work and the technical specialties currently in demand. These topics engendered a lively discussion that centered on working in a resource constrained setting, navigating successfully in a culture other than your own, and becoming adept at working in a highly collaborative environment where you must interact effectively with a broad range of colleagues with differing goals and visions. In addition, faculty had questions about the relationship between GHFP-II, USAID and the Public Health Institute which gave GHFP-II staff the opportunity to speak about the Cooperative Agreement between USAID and PHI. One faculty member was especially interested in knowing about opportunities for his veterinary students and program staff was able to talk about the fellows working on emerging pandemic threats in Sub-Sharan Africa and the Ebola epidemic in Liberia.
Several students were very much interested in the GHFP-II internships for summer 2016; how they could stand out as viable candidates, what kinds of positions would be available and when they could expect to hear word of the openings. The program’s listserv was offered up as the most efficient way to stay in touch and receive early announcements about the openings.
Traveling south about two hours along heavily wooded roads, the next stop on this outreach visit was a reception followed by a career fair the next day at Jackson State University, a historically black university in the state capital. These two events were part of a larger “Career Week” that included on-campus recruitment, class presentations and the Get “Suited” for the Right Career Fashion Show. The reception allowed for some fruitful one-on-one conversations with students in a more social and relaxed atmosphere. Since GHFP-II was one of the few health related employers represented, many attendees were eager to speak with our staff. The following day’s career fair allowed for more in-depth discussions supported by a variety of GHFP-II materials including a career resources sheet, resume tip sheet and template, program brochure and a variety of branded giveaway items. As the career fair drew to a close, students were still making their way to the GHFP-II table to find out about our internship opportunities and collect some of the program materials.
Check out photos of our staff connecting with students in our Flickr album.
By Bob Leone, GHFP-II Senior Outreach and Communications Advisor