Student Experiences

Student Experiences

Morgan DeVustMorgan DeVuyst is a senior with a double major in human biology and psychology and minor in medical anthropology. She started her internship with the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights (GIHHR) in Fall 2014 and has grown tremendously since then. She began working on a project with her co-researcher under University at Albany Professor Dr. Kamiar Alaei, on the topic of Health and Human Rights Indicators for HIV/AIDS specifically regarding “Injecting Drug Users,” a groundbreaking subject. Morgan and her co-researcher presented their research at the Undergraduate Research Conference last April, and hope to do so again this year. The GIHHR and UAlbany have offered Morgan several opportunities and she has made life long connections and friends. She is currently the Community Assistant for the World of Global Medicine and Human Rights LLC, where she helps incoming freshmen assimilate into college life. From her multiple outstanding opportunities at UAlbany and outstanding achievements academically, Morgan has been accepted into SUNY Upstate’s competitive Physician Assistant Program, and will begin this June. When asked about how her time and experiences at UAlbany contributed to her success she said, “None of this, none of these accomplishments and none of these experiential learning opportunities, would have been a reality if it weren’t for the support from UAlbany and its incredible staff.”


Natalie TurnerNatalie Turner is a senior at the University at Albany, interning at the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights (GIHHR). Through her work, Natalie assists in a research project, “The Gathering,” and engages with the data analysis program “STATA.” Natalie has been an intern at the GIHHR since spring 2015 where she has played a key role in developing multiple grants which seek to improve access to higher education through online learning. “The GIHHR has allowed me to take information regarding the right to, and importance of, education, as well as research and writing skills from my classes and apply it in my grant writing.” The GIHHR has also sharpened Natalie’s grant writing skills, and allowed her to broaden her knowledge on international relations.
“The Gathering” research project seeks to delve into how bringing awareness of topics that are considered to be ‘taboo’ in the classroom setting, such as racism or ableism, can be used to bring about social change, equity, and an appreciation for diversity. By working on this research project, Natalie has been able to enhance her knowledge of social justice, as well as develop effective interviewing skills. Her work with STATA has allowed Natalie to work on focusing her research and analysis skills. “All of these experiences have enhanced my college experience and have helped me to use the concepts and skills that I develop in class in a real-world setting.”


Amanda VolkThroughout her time as an undergraduate student at the University at Albany, Amanda Volk has been heavily involved in campus and community life. “I majored in public health, a field which UAlbany has been on the forefront of for many decades. My studies in public health have opened my eyes to the health status of the world.”

For the last year, Amanda has been an intern at the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights. There, Amanda has been able to apply what she learned in public health, to real life situations. This included researching structural, political, and ethical barriers to care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS in Malaysia and Kazakhstan. Her research has largely revolved around vulnerable populations such as injection drug users, Men who have Sex with Men, sex workers, and pregnant women. “I have been lucky enough to study under the supervision of Drs. Arash and Kamiar Alaei, pioneers in the field of treating HIV/AIDS in conservative societies. This has been a tremendous learning experience. UAlbany along with the Honors College provided me with the resources, guidance, and experts to succeed through new and innovative learning experiences.”

After graduating in May 2016, Amanda will begin a one year internship with General Electric (GE), where she will be focusing on health productivity in the work place. She will also embark upon her Masters of Public Health degree, where she plans to concentrate in epidemiology. Additionally, Amanda has the distinct honor of being the 2016-2017 David Axelrod Fellow. When asked to sum up her overall experience at UAlbany, Amanda said, “I can't imagine having chosen anywhere other than the University at Albany to expand my knowledge and life experience.”