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Dornsife Global Development Scholar Reflects on Experience Working with World Vision in Ghana

Julia on campus

July 21, 2022

Julia Langmuir, a Cherry Hill, NJ, native and soon-to-be senior at Drexel, is interested in a career that ties together international development, infectious disease mitigation, and maternal and child health.

To equip herself with the necessary skills and training, she is pursuing her degree in Global Studies with a concentration in Global Health and Sustainability and a minor in French through the College of Arts and Sciences' Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA) in Global Studies and Master’s in Public Health (MPH) accelerated track.

The choice to come to Drexel was compelling for Langmuir due to the university’s extensive network and support offered to students. Now entering her fourth year, she is happy with the connections she has made so far.

“I am proud of the network I’ve been able to develop on campus, in Philadelphia, and around the world. I’m grateful that I’ve tapped into any opportunity presented to me and committed myself fully to the values I care the most about in the pursuit of my education here,” she shared. 

An opportunity that has been beneficial to Langmuir’s education is the Dornsife Global Development Scholar (DGDS) program at Dornsife. The program is based on a mentorship model that allows students to work alongside World Vision International, a major international non-government organization and the largest distributors of water around the world, on humanitarian efforts that push forward to achieving all U.N. Sustainable Development Goals related to the global agenda prioritizing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).

In 2020, Langmuir was initially selected to work with World Vision in Senegal in 2020 but the program was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, after various safety measures were put in place, Langmuir was able to apply her teachings abroad through World Vision’s program in Ghana from June 12-24.  

Based in the upper east region of Ghana, Langmuir and fellow DGDS cohort members assisted World Vision program directors and local medical professionals who lead community-based sanitation development projects throughout the country. They were able to see first hand the power of collaboration between community members and public health practitioners when implementing sustainable solutions. 

“When public health planning and implementation seek to involve the same people they affect, the outcomes show a deeper engagement and commitment from the community,” said Langmuir. “We met with community leaders to discuss the work they’ve been doing to improve sanitation infrastructure, the impact those changes have had on health outcomes, and their plans to continue sanitation development in their communities.” 

Since returning from Ghana, Langmuir has been able to reflect on this unique experience. “DGDS challenges students to set aside the traditional role of a student that you learn through years of formal education,” she said. “In the classroom you can get by presenting your knowledge of theories and frameworks, but in the field, you learn best by listening to the experiences and the work being done with the experts surrounding you.” 

In the future, Langmuir is keeping an open mind to where her career may take her. “My career plan seems to shift a bit every time I ask myself this question, which is simply a positive result of the vast and fulfilling range of experiences I’ve gained over the past 3 years,” she said. “After completing the BA/MPH I’d like to work for a few years (ideally internationally) and then continue with more graduate school. I’d love to teach— the importance of education in health is a common thread that has tied together many of my experiences thus far, and I’d love to keep education a part of my career long after graduating from school.”

Learn more about the DGDS program