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International Development Alumni Spotlight: Ann Odom

Ann Odom moved from Texas to Nigeria before starting the Master’s in International Development (MAID) program, and it shaped her experience in profound ways. One of the best parts of the program, she says, was actually living in a developing country while earning her degree.

“The program is well-equipped to position anyone who is really into international development. Everything I needed — every tool, every insight, every illumination and education was provided for me. My field experience made it even more real, because now I had to take what was taught in the classroom and apply it in real life.”

Wanting to understand the true impact of healthcare logistics in developing nations, she chose to work with Sustainable Healthcare International (SHI) for her field project.

Working at SHI gave Ann the opportunity to bring life-saving AIDS medication to patients with HIV. Ann soon discovered, though, that this was not a simple process. Government interference, a lack of infrastructure, and unreliable electricity are just a few of the many barriers that prevent patients from getting the care they need. For example, many HIV drugs must be stored at cold temperatures. At clinics in Nigeria, electricity is typically inconsistent, making it impossible to store the drugs effectively. As a result, medications that could otherwise save lives had to be thrown away. Challenges like these are widely known, but Ann’s field project gave her the first-hand experience needed to begin to really evaluate these problems and search for lasting solutions.

“The course selections for the Master’s in International Development actually and truly prepare one for real-life situations in all their complexities and peculiarities. The field project is the last piece of the image that brings the whole process and experience together. It was a really eye-opening experience. Every student in the program should look forward to their field project.”

“Being in the Master’s in International Development program was one of the best things I’ve accomplished,” Ann says. Earning her degree was just the beginning. Ann’s passion for international development continues today. After graduating in October 2017, Ann chose to stay in Africa. She now works as a commercial manager for Greenline Agencies & Concepts Ltd, a real estate company in Abuja, Nigeria.

Learn more about other student experiences, or explore more about the Master’s in International Development here.