Kimberly Bonner ’08, MPA ’12, is a molecular biology graduate who seeks to apply her scientific background to global health, specifically malaria control. She spent her summer internship at the Department of State, working in the Office of International Health and Biodefense, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. During her fellowship, she worked with USAID in Tanzania’s National Malaria Control program, assisting in a national distribution of 9 million free-bed nets and with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also in Tanzania, on malaria control initiatives. She also interned with the Malaria Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working on a meta-review of vector control activities during the summer of 2011.
As a Fellow in the Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative, I spent the last two years working for USAID in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Prior to my SINSI fellowship, I had great enthusiasm but no experience in working in the developing world. Despite this lack of experience, my senior thesis made several policy recommendations that would have represented a significant shift in Tanzania’s malaria policy. After several months working within Tanzania’s government, I realized that my original ideas in my senior thesis were not realistic, but I noticed other policy changes that could have been made and wrote a proposal for one of them, prior to departing the office. Thanks to my experience as a SINSI fellow, I have learned not only about the specifics of the Tanzanian government but also about questioning my own underlying assumptions and seeking to understand what policies are needed, feasible and sustainable. I expect that these skills will benefit me as a policy maker in the years to come.