She Wants To Build A Malaria-Free World

Kritika Singh, a third-year bioengineering student at Northeastern, has been named a Truman Scholar....

At a boarding school in Hissar, India, where malaria was once common, Kritika Singh found herself frustrated. She was there to give a presentation about the importance of prevention against the disease, a message that the school’s teachers had been unsuccessful in getting across. The students grumbled about “nasty” malaria pills and stuffy bed nets.

Singh turned off her PowerPoint and tried again.

“As I talked to them like a peer and shared their grief, they became more interested,” she says. “We spoke about the simple steps the girls could take to help themselves.”...

...In 2014 she started a nonprofit, Malaria Free World, to promote research and education about the epidemic. In addition, with help from faculty advisors, in 2017 she founded Northeastern’s Global Health Initiative, a student-led conference that seeks to inspire their peers to care about health around the world. Some of the topics discussed at the last conference, in October, were HIV prevention, the environment’s effects on human health, and the role of robots in tracking epidemics.

“I want to get the student body at Northeastern interested in global health so that people interested in these careers can get more involved,” she says.

Singh has been named a Truman Scholar. The scholarship is a national award and the premiere fellowship in the U.S. for people who are pursuing careers as public service leaders.

The award recognizes exemplary academic abilities, as well as demonstrated leadership and the drive to serve the public. It provides funding for graduate study, mentoring, and connection to a national network of public service leaders. Former Truman Scholars include Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York; former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams; and current Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

This time, they listened. The girls worked together to make sure that they took their pills and slept under nets, and one year later, their school was malaria-free...

...She says that when she got a call from President Joseph E. Aoun informing her she’d won the Truman Scholarship, she was in between presentations with her Malaria Free World team at various schools and libraries in New Hampshire.

“The whole [application] process really helped me to reflect on my past journey since founding Malaria Free World in 2014 and move forward by helping me to reflect on my goals for the future,” she says. “I specifically want to focus on ending emerging diseases and on equipping the United States with the best tools we need to fight diseases that arise in this ever-changing world.”

Singh was one of two Truman scholars from Northeastern who were celebrated at the Academic Honors Convocation last week. The annual ceremony recognizes students and faculty who have received prestigious awards for scholarship, research, or teaching over the past year.

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