Global health student, alum named Fulbright scholars

Eva Jeffers and Allison Weidemann

Always passionate about cross-cultural learning and issues of poverty, recent ASU graduate Allison Weidemann found her way into the field of global health during a life-altering trip to Haiti with a team of medical professionals.

“That experience opened my eyes to the centrality of health to overall well-being and the many factors beyond biology that influence human health,” she said. It also led her to study global health – in which she earned her master’s last December – in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

And now she’ll be taking her passion for helping others abroad again, after being awarded a Fulbright scholarship. Also receiving a Fulbright is her friend, ASU undergraduate global health student Eva Jeffers. The two have been close since meeting at ASU in 2011 and call the simultaneous Fulbright experience “really special.”

Fulbright awards provide funding for students to study, conduct research or teach English abroad. The Fulbright program was founded to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

Jeffers will use her scholarship to travel to India as an English teaching assistant. Outside the classroom, she intends to work on a project that examines local news reactions to India’s leadership in public health.

Previously, Jeffers traveled to India for an eight-month study abroad program focused on language and culture. While there, she worked with a local, rural non-governmental organization conducting research on maternal and child access to supplemental nutrition.

Maternal and child health-care access, especially in Southeast Asia, is Jeffers’ primary area of interest. She is also drawn to sustainability, global health policy, urban youth engagement and the spread and development of education and prevention programs surrounding disease.

For three semesters, she has participated in ASU’s Global Classroom, a collaborative research experience with Leuphana University of Lüneburg in Germany. She looked at urban sustainability while designing and conducting an original project on the use of community gardens in forced migrant integration into host countries. She will travel to Germany this summer to present the findings.

Jeffers hopes to use her Fulbright-sponsored year to decide on her career plans. A master’s in public health is in her sights, and she is considering partnering that with medical school.

After graduation, Weidemann became the strategy, collaboration and innovation intern at World Vision International, a Christian humanitarian aid and advocacy organization that works with children and families worldwide. Her role involves researching global trends to anticipate their impacts on the group’s work and prompt strategic action.

Her Fulbright will send her to Turkey for a year to teach English at the university level. During this time, she plans to gain Turkish proficiency while connecting with the local community through music and athletics.

Ultimately, she would like a career in international development with a focus on asset-based health and education programs.