Glafira Marcon’s academic interests recently converged again when she landed a volunteer position at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20 for short) in Rio de Janiero in June.
Marcon, who studied socioeconomic development and international negotiation during her semester abroad in Brazil, was assigned to work with diplomats to coordinate visits from heads of state to Pier Mauá, a Rio+20 site featuring an exposition of Brazilian ministries and companies involved in sustainable initiatives. A Macalester travel grant funded her flights from Florianópolis to Rio de Janiero,
The large event included both official negotiations and a People’s Summit, which Marcon says was more vibrant. “People from all over the world, including indigenous groups from the Amazon, met to discuss the social, economic, and environmental effects of development,” she says. “The genuine and passionate conversations, the innovations in both the private and public sectors, and the high-level multilateral negotiations gave me the big picture of sustainable development.”
An international public health class helped Glafira Marcon ’13 land a World Bank internship
At Mac, I’ve explored international human rights and humanitarianism, and while those topics interest me, I am also drawn to international development, particularly pertaining to health. When I took International Public Health with Professor Christy Hanson last fall, I saw all my interests merge into one area, in a meaningful and tangible way. I learned how human rights and humanitarianism are popular avenues for tackling global health, an important indicator of development.
I wanted to learn more, so I asked Professor Hanson to help me find an internship in Washington, D.C., over January break. Through one of her connections at the World Bank, I interviewed with a project leader on the health system in the Brazilian state of Bahia, and was offered a job as a consultant.
At the World Bank, I worked with some of the brightest and most influential minds in international health.
My first project was writing a chapter for a book on health intelligence in Latin America. My supervisor asked me to model the chapter on a college writing assignment I’d done about dengue fever in Brazil. Next I wrote a 70-page book about infant development based on a report on economic models of health indicators. I analyzed those models, adding background information and previous literature on the subject. My international studies and economics classes prepared me well for this assignment because I had to understand economic theory and be able to articulate the connections with our findings. I also did a lot of editing and translating from Portuguese and Spanish into English.
Although I was working in Washington, I was constantly communicating with employees in Latin America. Almost everyone in my office spoke either Spanish or Portuguese, and hearing those languages daily helped adjust my ear and make the transition from my Portuguese classes at Mac to studying abroad in Brazil. This semester I’m enrolled at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Florianopolis, taking economics and international relations classes. Because I’m continuing to work as a World Bank consultant while I’m here, I’ll get to travel to the project site and meet with local project leaders.
At the World Bank, I worked with some of the brightest and most influential minds in international health. My boss regularly talked with me about our work and my coworkers were also helpful, offering to serve as future work contacts. I learned so much in such a short amount of time.