Chuck Szymanski ’91

2006 Young Alumni Award

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Chuck Szymanski has worked to improve the lives of people from Bolivia to Zimbabwe by enhancing economic opportunities, and health care and prevention measures. From a Macalester classmate, he learned about PRODEM, a nonprofit organization providing financial services to microbusinesses in Bolivia. In an internship he now calls "the most formative experience in my professional career," he conducted research and trainings for PRODEM and helped establish a bank serving poor people in Bolivia. He went on to work on development and investment projects with organizations including the World Bank, earning a master’s in public affairs from Princeton along the way.

In 1999 he joined PSI (Population Services International), headquartered in Washington, D.C. As deputy country director for Zimbabwe, Szymanski managed the New Start Voluntary HIV Counseling and Testing Network, building the organization from eight centers to 18 and instituting mobile outreach testing services. In two-and-a-half years, the number of clients served by New Start grew more than sixfold, to 13,000 per month. On Sundays, Szymanski was a hospice volunteer, visiting one-on-one with children suffering with the disease he fought on a national scale.

He now serves as senior manager of maternal and child health at PSI, where he is responsible for PSI’s safe water programs in 14 countries and oral rehydration programs in 10 countries, efforts integral to the health and survival of children.

Brian Berkopec ’91, who worked with him on PRODEM, says, "Chuck has been a dear friend for over 15 years. He is remarkably dedicated to his family and friends, and similarly dedicated to improving the lives of millions of women and children through better health care delivery and programming in developing countries worldwide."