Communications intern position open at GHI

The Global Health Institute is looking for a communications intern who is savvy in social media and has the skills to perform other communications duties.

The intern works directly with the GHI communications manager and GHI’s administrator on a variety of tasks, including website posts, social media outreach, infographics, news writing, newsletter creation and other tasks as assigned.

Apply by August 11, 2017.


  • Take a lead role in the planning and execution of a social media platform (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vimeo)
  • Assist with website, including posting new content and making existing content more user friendly
  • Take a lead role in producing the weekly Events+ newsletter; assist with e-newsletter and annual report
  • Write and edit content, including news stories, feature articles, news releases and development and website materials
  • Perform administrative services such as word processing, proofreading, fact checking, organizing photo files, preparing information for distribution, creating graphics, etc.
  • Work at GHI events through set-up, cleanup and assistance throughout the event
  • Other ad hoc projects assigned by communications or administration that ensure that GHI communications run smoothly


  • Excellent communication skills, especially listening, writing, editing and design capabilities
  • Hands on experience with social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
  • Must be graduating no sooner than May 2018
  • Ideally, be able to work starting in late August/ September start date possible
  • Preferred: global health/ environmental health students with experience in Journalism and/or Mass Communications/Life Sciences Communication
  • Hands on experience with a variety of electronic tools including MailChimp, Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator), Microsoft Office, WordPress
  • Working knowledge of AP style
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently within deadlines
  • Curiosity and enthusiasm for global health and GHI, and a desire to share the mission and vision to attract support for the Institute

Other Details:

  • Wage: $10.00 per hour
  • 10-12 hours per week depending on workload and class schedule. Most hours will be spent at the Medical Sciences Center office. More hours may be available during the summer.

How to apply:

Wisconsin Express program teaches students about health care in underserved areas.

May 22, 2017 By Emily Hamer

A group of 75 University of Wisconsin–Madison students will be in the field May 21-26 to learn firsthand about the diversity of the state’s health care system.

As a part of the Wisconsin Express program, which is organized by the Wisconsin Area Health Education Centers, the students will travel to 11 communities across Wisconsin, learning about public health dilemmas in the state, Wisconsin Express statewide program coordinator Keri Robbins said. Students visit clinics, shadow health care professionals and participate in activities that help them learn about diverse Wisconsin communities such as, Native American tribes, Somali refugees, Amish populations, and more.

Students in the Wisconsin Express program in 2016. The program visits communities across Wisconsin to learn about public health dilemmas. Photo courtesy of AHEC

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Global health students among 2017 Wisconsin Without Borders award winners

These seven students and faculty, including global health certificate earners, are proof that that the Wisconsin Idea is a living, serving idea.

This year’s Wisconsin Without Borders awards honor seven students and faculty for their community-engaged work at home and across the world. The 2017 awards honor work that demonstrates excellence in collaboration between the university and local and global communities, with this year’s work representing efforts spanning six countries. Each award carries a prize of up to $1,000.

Wisconsin Without Borders, a campus-wide alliance, will honor all winners at a ceremony on Monday, May 8 from 4 – 5:30 p.m. at the Education Building (room 159). The ceremony is open to the entire campus community.

Wisconsin Without Borders (WWB) is a UW-Madison alliance and award program that recognizes globally-engaged interdisciplinary scholarship and fosters excellence by networking through joint learning activities. WWB draws on the history and values of the Wisconsin Idea and the many remarkable partnerships that UW-Madison faculty members and students have initiated, both in Wisconsin and around the world.

WWB is a partnership between the Morgridge Center for Public Service, the Global Health Institute and the International Division.

Service Learning Award – Faculty

Joel Hill
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, School of Medicine and Public Health

For the last six years, the UW-Madison Physician Assistant (PA) program has traveled to the rural and impoverished areas around Independence, Belize, to provide medical care at temporary clinics. The work in Belize is in close partnership with local providers and with a non-governmental organization, the Belize Family Life Association. Students and faculty travel there to address acute minor complaints, chronic illnesses, as well as teach preventive health strategies and provide cervical cancer screening exams.

Community-Based Research Award – Graduate Student

John Uelmen
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Population Health Sciences, Global Health Institute

John Uelemen worked with the citizens of Ban Koke Wat Moo, Thailand, to better understand the status of Dengue virus in the country. His short-term goal was to establish a level of trust and mutual respect with the local citizens and to better understand daily activities, food preparation, religion, social interaction and more. All of these factors play critical roles in the transmission of Dengue. Uelemen found it crucial to understand how the local culture deals with larger issues to be respectful in battling the epidemic. He will build off this cultural understanding in order to conduct a year of research on Dengue virus in Thailand.

Service-Learning Award – Graduate Student

Erica Hess
Design Studies, School of Human Ecology

The now ubiquitous nature of smartphones and internet access opens new opportunities to collaborate around the world. During the Fall 2016 semester, students enrolled in a textile design class taught by graduate student Erica Hess were paired with artisans in the Kutch district of Gujarat, India. With no opportunity to meet in person, 13 design teams used the popular communication app WhatsApp to each develop a collection of scarves. The project goals were to collaborate on a unified collection of scarves, to effectively communicate design ideas using only the smart phone app and to create an intercultural exchange through design.

Peter Bosscher Award – Undergraduate Student

Maria Castillo
Environmental Studies, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

The goal of UpTica is to address inequality and waste management in San Isidro, Costa Rica, and to empower women by providing access to opportunities through upcycling. Upcylcing implies that the new product has more value than it previously had. The project centers on the production of new reusable bags because leftover fabric was being trashed locally and there was a high rate of plastic bag usage in the area. Production work is open to all genders, but specifically increases opportunities to women.

4W Award – Undergraduate Student

Sydney Olson
Department of Biology, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Global Health Institute

The primary goal for the ‘AFRIpads for All’ project is to increase access to menstrual health supplies for school-aged girls by partnering with AFRIpads to provide reusable menstrual pads to girls in Nkokonjeru, Uganda. By providing sanitary supplies to school-aged girls, the larger-scale goal is that girls will be able to effectively managed monthly menstruation, resulting in a lower incidence of girls skipping school, thus lessening the disparity in class attendance and performance between boys and girls in the community.

4W Award – Undergraduate Student

Jennifer Wagman
School of Business

Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace is a non-profit student organization committed to maintaining fair trade practices with global artisans who sell their work through the organization. As the student director of Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace, Jennifer Wagman works to create sustainable economic development and empowerment for partners in developing countries. For Jennifer, the work also means creating meaningful student experiences. Her goal is to empower students to use their many talents, while also teaching confidence, self-motivation empowerment, respect, tolerance, acceptance and understanding.

Service-Learning Award – Undergraduate Student

Michelle Tong
Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, Asian American Studies Program, College of Letters and Sciences

The goal of our College/Career Advancement Mentorship Program (CAMP) at the Bayview Foundation in Madison was to provide high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds with a foundation to pursue higher education. With funding from the Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowships, CAMP has been piloted as a blueprint for Bayview to reduce an income disparity in student success. CAMP consists of weekly academic workshops, weekly group ACT tutoring from Galin Education and monthly motivational workshops.

This story was originally posted by the Morgridge Center for Public Service. 

2017-18 Wisconsin Idea Fellowships awarded to seven projects






The 2017-18 Wisconsin Idea Fellowships have been awarded to seven outstanding undergraduate projects at home and across the globe, many with a global health emphasis. Brooke Nelson, Global Health Certificate earner, is among the recipients.

The projects, which are all rooted in the concept of addressing needs identified by community partners, range in topic from mass incarceration, to household energy solutions, to fresh produce access to sexual assault and more. A total of 15 UW-Madison undergraduate students are part of this year’s projects, sponsored by the Morgridge Center for Public Service.

Now in its 19th year, Wisconsin Idea Fellowships (WIF) are awarded annually to UW-Madison undergraduate projects working to solve issues identified by local or global communities. Fellowships are awarded to semester-long or year-long projects designed by an undergraduate student or group of students in collaboration with a community organization and a UW faculty or staff member.

Projects receive both logistical support as well as financial support—up to $7,000 in total depending on project scope and duration. A portion of each project’s funding is awarded to students as a personal stipend, allowing them to pursue a WIF project using time they might have otherwise worked a job. Some projects will begin this summer, and some will last through next May.

Included in this year’s program are three special awards: The Michael Thornton and Nora Medina Social Innovation Award and two American Family Insurance Social Entrepreneurship Awards.

2017-18 Wisconsin Idea Fellowships:

Collaborating with Communities in Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica, to Create a Wasteless System & Socioeconomic Development

Students: Kyle Powers, Anna Ostermeier, Brooke Nelson
Faculty Advisor: Cathy Middlecamp
Community Partner: UpTica

This project addresses the intersection of gender inequality and environmental sustainability in Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica. The community partner, UpTica, introduces upcycling to rural communities as an approach to sustainable waste management, female empowerment, and economic opportunity. The team will catalyze the collaborative development of a waste framework to procure upcycling resources, engage local young people around sustainability leadership opportunities, and create local wealth using discarded materials.

Addressing Incarceration and Its Effects on Community Health Through the Arts (Madison, WI)

Student: Mackenzie Berry
Faculty Advisor: Rain Wilson
Community Partner: Madison Organizing in Strength, Equality, and Solidarity (MOSES)

This project has been awarded an American Family Insurance Social Entrepreneurship Award made possible by a generous donation from American Family Insurance.

This project uses artists as creative agents of change to promote health equity in marginalized communities disproportionately affected by mass incarcerated. In effort to address the relationship between poverty, incarceration, and health disparities, this project connects artists with community members to diminish inequities perpetuated by racialized incarceration. Partnering with Madison Organizing in Strength, Equality, and Solidarity (MOSES), project participants will work with community members around the topic of decreasing and recovering from incarceration to produce lasting performance and visual art that engages all stakeholders.

Implementing Solar Technology for Lighting and Power Applications in Rural Kenya

Students: David Seamon, James Ewald, Mary Mancl, Maxwell Roth, Megan Sweet
Faculty Advisor: Lesley Sager
Community Partner:

In this project, students and faculty partner with a non-profit organization, Merry-Go-Strong, to address household energy access in Gatunga, Kenya. Two primary problems that the residents have previously emphasized were a) the lack of access to in-home lighting and, and b) small electronic charging capabilities. To ameliorate these issues, the team has designed an inexpensive source of solar powered light and USB power that can be easily created/used by members of the community. The current project is designed to disseminate this knowledge/technology to community members.

ARMS High School Tutoring Program: Outreach to Promote Education for Multicultural Students through Scientific Role Models (Dane County, WI)

Student: Lindsi London
Faculty Advisor: Dolly Ledin
Community Partner: Boys and Girls Club of Dane County

This project has received the “Michael Thornton and Nora Medina Social Innovation Award,” a special honor made possible by a generous endowment fund for WIF projects targeting the opportunity gap in Madison. 

The project promotes equity, diversity, and success in science learning among underrepresented teens in the City of Madison. In collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of America, the Partner School Network, and WIScience, ARMS volunteers will bridge the gap between high school and university students to promote scientific competence. Through one-on-one assistance from UW-Madison tutors, students will be provided personal attention to solidify improved outcomes in advanced science courses and post-secondary education.

Eva the Engineer: Young Girls at the Intersection of Engineering and Sustainability (Madison, WI)

Students: Renee Olley, Morgan Sanger
Faculty Advisor: Angela P. Ahlman
Community Partner: Madison Metropolitan School District

This project has been awarded an American Family Insurance Social Entrepreneurship Award made possible by a generous donation from American Family Insurance. 

The purpose of this project is to encourage middle school girls in the City of Madison to consider STEM-related careers. In collaboration with the Wisconsin Concrete Pavement Association and the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), team members will utilize their academic backgrounds in civil engineering and environmental sustainability to address the nationwide gender gap in STEM fields with an interactive classroom exercise that teaches female students to fosters teamwork skills, logical reasoning capacity, and environmental sustainability awareness.

The Patio Tomato Project: Decreasing the Gap Between Families and Produce Through Urban Agriculture (Madison, WI)

Student: Caroline Hanson
Faculty Advisor: Jeri Barak-Cunningham
Community Partner: The River Food Pantry

This project will combat the challenges of obtaining fresh product for low-income families by growing and distributing free high yielding cherry tomato plants. In collaboration with the River Food Pantry, the team will distribute the plants during workshops that teach maintenance/utility of low-input gardening, disseminate cooking recipes, and foster long-term healthy practices by engaging children in gardening. Based on results of this pilot, the team will create a student organization that advocates for improved nutrition across food pantries in Madison.

Relationships FLAGs (Madison, WI)

Students: Maddie Zimmerman, Lauren Silber
Faculty Advisor: Tracy Schroepfer
Community Partner: Domestic Abuse Intervention Services

The goal of this project is to partner with Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS), Promoting Awareness Victim Education (PAVE), and sororities and fraternities in UW’s Greek Community to equip students with the confidence and capacity to understand the nature of dating violence and healthy relationships. Currently, DAIS does not offer educational resources to the campus. This project addresses this service gap with a series of interactive activities to teach Greek students about healthy relationships and foster effective intervention strategies that decrease instances of sexual assault throughout the student body.

This story was reposted from the Morgridge Center for Public Service. View the original story here.

Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace makes a difference throughout globe.

This story first appeared at

Ashley Summers never imagined herself standing in the mountains of Ecuador when she first entered the Student Organization fair at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

But nine months later, the UW–Madison student from Wauwatosa would travel to a small community outside Cotacachi to work with local artisan group, Sumak Muyo.

“It was interesting seeing how the work we do in Wisconsin translates into these small communities, and it makes a difference in these women’s lives,” Summers says, “Because that’s what our organization is really about… giving these artisans the empowerment and the skills to run their own business.”

Summers is a part of Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace (WWBM), a student organization that collaborates with artisan groups from Mexico, Ecuador, Nepal, India and Kenya to sell their jewelry, scarves and bags in Madison. The profits are reinvested back into the artisans’ communities to support community development efforts such as education, health care and food.

The women in Ecuador use local beads, string and other materials to make their necklaces that are sold in Madison. JEN WAGMAN/UW-MADISON

The operations, marketing and sales for the Marketplace are primarily led by students. Janet Niewold, faculty advisor for the WWBM, believes this organization offers students opportunities to build skills in any career field they choose, whether it’s business, fashion, global health, graphic design or marketing.

“We are trying to develop economic opportunities [for students], so that they can get involved with the community using their skills,” Niewold says, “Because it’s the students’ skills that bring this project to life.”

Students begin the process by communicating with artisan groups, like Sumak Muyo, to discuss order timeline, products, questions and any other confusions. Then, the women of Sumak Muyo travel from their indigenous community, La Calera, to Otavalo to buy materials such as acai, pambil, coco, tagua nuts, beads and string if needed.

After they have their supplies, the artisans will gather at one of their homes to create the necklaces, or products for the order. When the order is finished, it will be sent to the United States, where WWBM pays for both the order and the shipping expenses. The final sale prices are calculated based on labor, time and materials.

The process can slightly vary depending on the community and what products they are creating. For example, the groups in Kenya make bags and rely on very traditional artisanship that only the older generations know, so instead of ordering products, a representative will buy bags during visits and use a lot of the funding for community development projects like a partnership building solar-powered lights with Insight Wisconsin. The products are then sold at local art fairs, in an online store and elsewhere.

The streets in the village of Tabuga, Ecuador. JEN WAGMAN/UW-MADISON


This interdisciplinary organization relies on various departments across the UW campus to coordinate “sustainable models for expanding product sales opportunities,” according to the website.

Jen Wagman, a student director for WWBM, explains that there are several components of the organization that students can participate in. For example, the organization’s origins derived from the global health certificate, but WWBM is a registered student organizations with the School of Business BBA program and collaborates the School of Human Ecology to analyze fashion trends. The project has financial and strategic aspects, as students can expand the marketplace and the awareness of fair trade practices in Madison.

Wagman, who’s from Verona, says “what draws student into the organization is having that true experience of what you might be doing someday,” and the ability to use their skills while making small differences in these artisans’ communities.

“Anyone can make a difference in any way, shape or form. It can be in any capacity, whether it’s in your dorm, in your apartment, in your house, and translate into these big world issues,” Wagman says, “Every day you impact so many people. Just being able to recognize that, even if you just buy a pair of earrings, you can have a big impact.”

Summers, event coordinator for WWBM, reiterated that any student who is interested in fair trade practices or applying their skills into a real business can get involved with the Marketplace. She says, “It’s a lot of work for a student organization, but you gain real skills, and it’s rewarding.”

For more information about the organization or would like to purchase their products, visit its website or email

– See more at:

UW students lead comprehensive study on poverty in southern Wisconsin

This story was posted first on the Morgridge Center for Public Service website.

Swetha Saseedhar spent a large part of the last year talking with dozens of people in southern Wisconsin struggling against poverty. And as she listened intently, her mind also went to her own family’s story half a world away.

The UW-Madison senior is an immigrant from India. Before coming to America, Saseedhar says her parents and grandparents all lived in a one-bedroom home as they worked to make ends meet—which sounded like many stories she was now hearing in southern Wisconsin.

Over the last 18 months, Saseedhar has been part of a team of UW-Madison students assembling a Community Needs Assessment for the Community Action Coalition (CAC) of Southern Wisconsin — a community action agency serving Dane, Jefferson and Waukesha counties. The team met with over 275 people in communities across the three counties to better understand economic struggles and what policy solutions might help.

But despite the many layers of difficulty Saseedhar and her team uncovered, she says just like her own family, she found that people refuse to give up.

“A lot of them talked about their stories of resilience,” said Saseedhar, a Biology, French and Global Health sudent. “That really sticks with me, because I’m an immigrant from India. And my family had been struggling economically until a few years ago, so that was a connection I have with them.”

Community action agencies are organizations established under the Economic Opportunity Act of of 1964 to fight America’s “War on Poverty.” Every three years, these organizations (about 1,000 across the country) are required to complete a community needs assessment.

UW-Madison senior Jarjeh Fang led the student team completing the CAC’s Community Needs Assessment. His junior year, he had sent an email to the CAC’s executive director asking if there were any volunteer opportunities. Fang, who’s studying Neurobiology and Political Science, got a response back that they had a needs assessment that needed to get done.

“And I said, that sounds gruesome and grueling,” said Fang. “I don’t have any background in community-based research, and this is really not something I have expertise in.” But he couldn’t shake the idea.

“A week later I came back and said, no, I’d really like I think to do this.”

Fang, Saseedhar, three other undergraduate students and two graduate students formed the assessment team. They set out to learn more about poverty in Dane, Jefferson and Waukesha counties. But they also knew they wanted the assessment to be more than a document on a shelf.

“We wanted to sort of push that a little bit,” said Fan. “Try to do something with it.”

So Fang and Saseedhar applied for and were awarded a Wisconsin Idea Fellowshipby the Morgridge Center for Public Service to support the development of an action plan based on the assessment’s findings.

“People share their stories with you with the expectation that things will change and that you’ll do something with it,” Fang said. “And when that doesn’t happen, the relationship becomes exploitative, and we wanted to avoid that.”

Before they could develop solutions though, they had to better understand the issues. The team drove across the three counties, holding 20 focus groups and asking people to share deeply personal stories about economic struggles.

“A lot of these people were really willing to help, and they cared a lot about their communities,” said Saseedhar. “And they shared these very personal stories with us and trusted us to use these stories to actually create change.”

Although poverty is down overall in Wisconsin since the end of the Great Recession, the poverty rate in Dane County still stands at 11.4%, in Jefferson County: 9.3% and in Waukesha County: 4.5%. And those numbers all represent thousands of real stories.

“They have a preconceived idea of who I am. They judge me with one glance… it holds you back,” a woman experiencing homelessness in Waukesha County told the group.

Many shared how poverty impacted their children and the time they were able to give to their children.

“All I do is work, but if I don’t work, we don’t make it. And there isn’t enough time for them,” confided one Dane County mother, through tears.

One man had recently found permanent housing, but now said her felt isolated from the community he had when homeless. His isolation, a common thread for many in the focus groups, had led to despair. The man said his dog was his only companion and once his dog died, he didn’t think he would have the will to keep living.

“On the car ride back, all of us sort of sat in silence because we didn’t really know what to do with that information,” said Fang, reflecting.


When focus group interviews concluded, the team used the qualitative data as well as additional quantitative data to put together a list of seven key findings on poverty in Dane, Jefferson and Waukesha Counties:

  1. Housing system favors landlords and tenants with higher incomes
  2. Participants face difficulty reaching jobs and community resources because of limited transportation options
  3. Those facing hardship are socially isolated and excluded from the broader community
  4. There’s a Lack of awareness or access to programs and services for which they are eligible
  5. Hardship has led to mental illness and substance abuse
  6. Low wages and insufficient work hours prevented people from making ends meet
  7. Children became the focus of nearly every conversation

But gathering information wasn’t enough. Fang says many participants let them know they felt like they only ever saw people asking about their lives once every three years; Many said they never saw solutions to their problems.

The team published a 62-page Community Needs Assessment that included a list of recommendations, a foundation for Fang and Saseedhar’s action plan. Recommended programs and policies include:

  • Peer-navigator groups
  • Establish year-round outreach efforts
  • Strengthen coordination and data-sharing between partners
  • Update CAC’s internal data collection
  • Continue CAC Clothing Center
  • Continue providing housing-related service

Using funding from their Wisconsin Idea Fellowship, Fang and Saseedhar are particularly interested in working with groups of community leaders to develop a model for peer navigator groups.

The cohort-based model supports people who have themselves experienced poverty to act as navigators for others facing similar difficulties. The navigators guide others through the often complicated systems, identify available programs and create a community of support.

Fang and Saseedhar also recently presented the assessment to US Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office.

The pair, who will both graduate this spring, say the assessment was both challenging and rewarding. And their hope is the effort of their team and the hundreds who shared their stories in focus groups can catalyze new solutions and policies.

“It was important for us to show that this wasn’t going to be just a one-time thing,” said Saseedhar. “That this research project was actually going to hopefully turn into a bigger project that would involve these communities.”

By Mark Bennett, Morgridge Center for Public Service/ February 15, 2017