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Global Studies Senior Explores Urban Development and Human Rights

By Kylie Gray

Drexel University Global Studies Student Chloe Humola

Chloe Humola has experience to match the breadth of her Global Studies major: environmental campaigning with a local nonprofit, applying peace and negotiation frameworks in Jordan, trying out the corporate world at an international law firm. With coursework and co-ops spanning the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the U.S., Humola has pulled "bits and pieces from everything," and discovered a new appreciation for the link between urban development and human rights.

Humola witnessed how small changes to urban spaces can increase quality of life in her recent co-op at Breadline Africa, a nonprofit based in Cape Town, South Africa. The organization specializes in converting shipping containers into resources like libraries, classrooms, kitchens and bathrooms for impoverished communities.

"Breadline Africa essentially provides infrastructure relief to early childhood development centers," Humola says. "CDCs arise out of a need, often to get kids away from crime, gangs and poverty. These issues need legislative change, but the infrastructure helps support communities in the meantime. It's not going to stop the bleeding, but it may make it clot a little quicker."

Humola contributed to the organization as a data analyst for the marketing department, charged with identifying donation amounts that result in the greatest donor longevity. Though she does not plan to work in marketing or data analysis, the role afforded a strategic perspective of the organization's efforts to increase quality of life — a perspective she has taken back to the classroom.

"In my major, we talk a lot about issues like food deserts and lack of access to affordable healthcare," she says. "If cities are planned out with proper infrastructure and access to affordable transportation, many of these issues can be avoided."

Humola's co-op at Breadline was the latest of several experiences that have pushed her to think deeply about issues related to the distribution of resources. She was first exposed to some of these issues in her co-op role as a campaign coordinator at Food & Water Watch, a Washington D.C.-based NGO.

"Even though I'm on the Justice and Human Rights track of the Global Studies major, environmental issues like water allocation have always been important to me," she says. "A lot of environmental issues have an innate human rights component, especially in underprivileged and under-resourced communities."

Whether abroad or at home in Philadelphia, Humola is motivated to build a career that will make a difference. As she wraps up her senior year, she's applying to several international fellowships that will allow her to further explore her interests in resource allocation, human rights and urban development. She will take the "bits and pieces" of insight from each experience as she moves on to her next adventure.

"I've lived in cities on three continents and have done completely different things in each place, but they have all contributed to what I want to do," she says. "The possibilities are endless, and I want to look back on my life knowing that I lived out those possibilities."