2018 Grant Award: Maddie Taylor

I’m still processing the incredible experience I had last week that PLA helped make possible. It was one of the best learning experiences I’ve had in college and it came outside of the classroom. I had the honor of being the only undergraduate student on Penn State’s inaugural team for the Emory International Global Health Case Competition held last week in Atlanta, Georgia. The competition was just a week long, but my commitment to this extracurricular stems back to January. For seven weeks, my team and I went through old case studies to practice solving challenging global health issues. This involved at least five hours of work outside of class each week and a few trips to Hershey, PA for meetings. After I got back from the PLA trip to Chicago, I went right to Hershey for the weekend to be with the team when this year’s case was released. Our case was about containing a novel infectious disease outbreak at the 2022 World Cup Games in Qatar. I spent the whole week after spring break working on this incredibly interesting subject material, and this proved to be the biggest part of the learning experience. My teammates, graduate students in public health, medicine, and law, were so knowledgeable and wise and I’m grateful to have them as mentors now. The competition weekend itself was intense but our presentation went well, and we ultimately lost to the eventual winners of the competition. The last piece of this amazing experience was the networking I got to do in Atlanta. Dr. Wenke Hwang, Dean of Public Health Sciences at Penn State, traveled with us to Atlanta so I got to know him very well. In addition, I had dinner with a young female professional who works at the CDC, who I’m sure I’ll keep in touch with for career advice over the next few years. This case competition was by far one of my best experiences at Penn State – thank you again to PLA for your support!