Mary D'Alimonte

Mumbai and Maharashtra, India

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Career goal: Pursue a career in global health and community development. 

Internship outline: Mary conducted an independent research project, in which she interviewed mothers living in an urban slum of Mumbai. The purpose of her research was to identify positive behaviors and attributes among slum dwellers that contribute to their children’s health and nutrition. She worked in collaboration with SNEHA (snehamumbai.org), a Mumbai-based non-profit organization with a focus on research. SNEHA programs operate in Dharavi, the largest slum in Asia and the heart of Mumbai.

Value of experience: This internship provided me with invaluable skills and knowledge. I experienced firsthand how an NGO functions, from executive meetings to on-the-ground field work, and successfully tackled the inherent challenges that come with doing research in an unfamiliar site. I enjoyed doing fieldwork in an underserved, marginalized community because it brought me close to the people who live there.  This prepared me for a career in global health because it reminded me of the people that public health research is meant to serve.

Best moment/experience: One of the best things about doing fieldwork in Dharavi is the ability to meet so many people. I met families who were welcoming and friendly, and who often offered me food and drink when I entered their humble homes. On one occasion, a family I befriended gifted me a plastic watch so that I would remember them; it was a gift that I accepted thankfully.