Funded by a Kellogg/Kroc research grant, Kara Ryan '13, a Science Preprofessional Studies major and International Development Studies (IDS) minor, spent the summer in southern India researching individual-level health indicators. She writes:

The best piece of advice I have been given as an undergraduate
interested in studying development and working in an international setting is this:

'''Never, ever, turn down an opportunity to go abroad, to see and learn something new and different in a part of the world you might never have thought you would see.'

It was this very sentiment that led me to embark on the extremely impactful and meaningful experience of designing and carrying out my own research in India…

The objective of my study was to gather preliminary data that could be used to constructhealth profiles for different regions of rural Karnataka, based on figures collected from first-line primary health centers.

I was excited to have the opportunity to see firsthand the ways in which the data I was searching for and examining here on campus were collected and incorporated into programs and policy on the ground, in communities at the local, health-center level.…

In addition to becoming familiar with the rural healthcare system more broadly, my colleagues and I had the opportunity to interact with various medical staff members and learn from them about different aspects of Indian life and culture, as they related to health.

There were inevitable complications…the culture shock, the constant awareness and attention to small, but important details like food and water, etc.—all these scenarios forced me to think and learn quickly. But it was through those experiences that I learned the most about myself, about the country where I was working, and about what it means to work as a student in the field of development.

Kara will share her experiences with other students in the IDS capstone seminar and use her research as the basis for her senior project. Working with her advisor, epidemiologist Edwin Michael, she hopes to complete and publish a quantitative analysis of her data.