Meet the Class of 2025 Health Scholars

Jan. 31, 2024

The Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs has selected six students as Class of 2025 Health Scholars. All of them will receive financial support for travel and research to pursue internships and senior thesis research that relate to domestic and international health care and health policy.

A small group of juniors is selected for the program annually through a rigorous application process focusing on both academic performance and plans for work and research on health policy issues.

“These students represent some of Princeton University’s best and brightest scholars in the field of global health,” stated Gilbert Collins, Director of Global Health Programs.

Scholars are supported for two years, engaging in fully funded health-related internships or independent research during the summer following junior year and then writing senior theses with a health policy dimension. They may also participate in health policy seminars and lectures, broadening their understanding of global health challenges while interacting with distinguished speakers and visitors. 

The Health Scholars initiative is part of CHW’s Global Health Program, which offers the opportunity for undergraduates to minor in Global Health and Health Policy while exploring the world’s most pressing health issues through academic study, innovative research, and experiential learning.

Meet the Class of 2025 Health Scholars, all of whom are minoring in Global Health and Health Policy:

  • Thia Bian, a Comparative Literature major, is interested in how language shapes and limits the way we perceive illness. Specifically, she plans to study potential differences between English and Chinese texts on illness. She believes this work could support the development of culturally sensitive policies and lead to a more nuanced understanding of why certain treatments work or don’t work in various contexts.
  • Tara DSilva, an Anthropology major, plans to center her project on the dissonance between India’s policy goals and results by tracking the lived experiences of people with mental illnesses. Her research will focus on the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where rates of depressive and anxiety disorders are especially high compared to other states.
  • Issa Mudashiru, an Anthropology major who is on the premed track and also minoring in Chinese Language Studies, plans to study the impact of China’s involvement in Sierra Leone’s health care system. He will investigate the origins and current state of Chinese economic, political, and medical investment in Sierra Leone and West Africa generally, as well as ethnographies relating to Sierra Leone’s rich history, cultures, and traditions.
  • Emmie Pickerill, an Anthropology major who is also pursuing a Certificate in American Studies, plans to research the points at which large scale health organizations intersect with local health initiatives. She will explore the dynamics of collaboration from multiple perspectives, considering historical and contemporary influences. Ultimately, she aims to identify successes to build upon and challenges to overcome.
  • Catalina Posada, an Economics major who is also pursuing a Certificate in Latin American Studies, will examine how experiencing disease in childhood impacts financial outcomes later in life. Moreover, she will study the effects of maternal socioeconomic status on the incidence of disease in their children. The research will explore such issues as socioeconomic inequality, social determinants of health, and spread of disease.
  • Kiara Wassoodew, a Molecular Biology major who is also minoring in Dance, will study dowry (or “bride price”) as a public health crisis. She aims to better understand the sociocultural, religious, political, regional, and economic forces that surround the dowry system in India and how this system affects the mental wellbeing of women. She hopes this research will inform future policies and legislation to protect women’s health.

The Center for Health and Wellbeing is an interdisciplinary center within SPIA, which seeks to foster research and teaching on the multiple aspects of health and wellbeing in both developed and developing countries.