Emily Roberts '08 Green

PhD Student: Nursing and Health

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

Majors:  International Affairs / Nursing

Language:  French

Study Abroad:  Uganda

As a lover of travel and new experiences who decided that Nursing was the major I wanted to pursue at UNH, it only seemed logical to knock on a door at the Center for International Education and ask if they could customize the International Affairs (IA) major to work with the demanding nursing curriculum. Through the hard work and flexibility of many, I was able to become the first IA/Nursing dual major at UNH.

Emily Roberts '08 in Uganda
Emily Roberts '08 in Uganda

This combination led to the most diverse blend of courses for a nursing major and allowed me to spend every summer while at UNH in a different international setting. My first summer was in Paris teaching English, the second in the Dominican Republic working with a private organization for Haitian refugees, and the third and final in Uganda conducting research in a rural health center with funding from the UNH International Research Opportunities Program (IROP). I was perhaps the busiest and craziest nursing major at the time, but also certainly the most satisfied as I took every opportunity that came before me at UNH.

Since graduation, I have returned twice to Uganda for an extensive amount of time to continue my work and medical experience. With a home-stay family who feels like true family and a working staff who continue to absorb my knowledge and teach me endlessly, the times in Uganda have led me to future career goals. Combined with my domestic nursing work in inner city Los Angeles with the pediatric school population, I have developed specific interests born from my initial experiences in IA.

I am now in San Francisco pursuing a PhD in Health Education and Program Implementation. I want to discover the best way to integrate health education programs into any setting. I believe the international borders and differences in policy and culture are not as defined as we all believe, and I hope to gain a skill set that I can apply towards addressing this critical issue.

My advice to IA students is to take the path not traveled, ask for exceptions that create a tailored experience, and to work hard to maintain a personal reputation that encourages staff and faculty to support you. Most of all, remember that this major is designed to combine the expertise you are acquiring in another field with the international need and opportunity for impact.