Shouri Bagchi is the Communications Summer Student at Grand Challenges Canada & is currently completing his IMBA at the Schulich School of Business, York University
It’s summer again and that means that Grand Challenges Canada is welcoming a new batch of summer students. We have a diverse group of nine students this year, with various academic and professional backgrounds. The challenge – no pun intended – for our 2014 summer students is to help with a myriad of projects and tasks:
- Assisting with reviews of the different portfolios and projects
- Reviewing legal issues, such as intellectual property (IPlaw) or the new anti-spam legislation
- Discussing how Grand Challenges Canada can help our innovators to take their innovations to scale, generating measurable and sustainable social impact
- Preparing for Grand Challenges Canada community meetings, where innovators share and discuss ideas
- Analyzing project data to focus on results, and on saving and improving lives
- Analyzing budgets and financial reports
- Evaluating a new enterprise-resource (ERP) system to manage our grants administration and project database
- Assisting with social media, blog posts, website maintenance and project communication.
Our interns are recruited to work on projects for specific functions within the organization. So who are these nine fabulous interns and, in their own words, what do they hope to achieve over the summer? For this blog post, each student was asked to ponder two questions:
- Why Grand Challenges Canada?
- What do you hope to achieve over the summer?
Stars in Global Health
Matthew Dickson – M.Sc in Global Health (McMaster University) @mattmdickson
I decided to pursue a summer internship at Grand Challenges Canada because I was deeply impressed by how this organization has built a global health funding pipeline for others to emulate. Grand Challenges Canada has funded many projects in low- and middle-income countries that address issues of health, environmental, economic and social change: issues that I hold dear. By working directly on evaluating and monitoring the projects we support, I will gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the numerous global health challenges and sustainable solutions for these problems. This summer internship has given me the opportunity to put into practise the knowledge I have gained in my studies, so that I can build a career in global health.
Targeted Challenges: Saving Brains | Global Mental Health | Saving Lives at Birth
Maia Johnstone – B.Sc (Hons.) in Health Studies & Psychology (University of Toronto) @maiajohnstone
I believe that everyone is entitled to good health, not just those who can afford it. What drew me to Grand Challenges Canada was the focus on mental health and on early childhood development. Grand Challenges Canada’s commitment to projects that are being acknowledged as having long-term impact on individuals and communities impressed me deeply. As a recent graduate with a double major in psychology and health studies, the Targeted Challenges programs at Grand Challenges Canada aligned perfectly with both my academic and professional goals. During my time here, I plan to improve my research, analysis and writing skills, and to learn about the partners Grand Challenges Canada collaborates with and how different sectors intertwine in their work, in order to pursue a career in epidemiology and health policy.
Caroline Leps – 4th Year BA (Hons.) in Global Health and Intl. Relations (University of Toronto) @caroline_leps
The organization stands for what I believe to be the best method of addressing global health: a bottom-up, pluri-institutional approach that focuses on impact (ensuring innovations make a profound difference for individual lives) and scale (ensuring that difference is felt by many around the world). This summer, I plan to learn more about smart partnerships, financial innovations, and scaling up projects as, for me, understanding this aspect of global health is the key to achieving impact at scale. My aim is to become a paediatrician, and later to work on public policy development and implementation in maternal and newborn health in developing countries.
Elizabeth Munn – B.Sc in Life Sciences (Queen’s University) @Eliza_Munn_
The catalyst for my interest in global health was working with Aboriginal communities in northern Canada. From these experiences, my particular focus has become global health “at home”. For example, the Indigenous concept of wellness articulates physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components, and considers the diverse social and environmental determinants of health. Grand Challenges Canada puts this approach into practice by supporting innovation that leverages the best practices of science, technology, sociocultural research and industry to create coordinated, interdisciplinary solutions that are flexible, resilient and have global scope. I hope to gain a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of global health “in action”: how a proof-of-concept is translated into results, how to create sustainable models for financing global health and how we overcome the grand challenges we have taken on.
Vivian Tam – M.D Candidate 2017 (McMaster University) @vtamster
As an Arts & Science student at McMaster, I am keenly interested in how different parts contribute to the whole: perceiving the big picture. Grand Challenges Canada supports innovative projects that together are meant to solve a critical barrier to health in low- and middle-income countries. What I most appreciate about working here is coming to understand not only how each innovation improves community-level or social determinants of health, but also how they are collectively contributing to the elimination of these barriers. From my time here, I hope to become more familiar with the newly developed Theory of Change frameworks (that describe how our projects map onto our institution-level goals) and to understand how we work with the Investment Committee to evaluate innovations for transition to scale.
Judi Balasingam – 3rd Year BBA Finance & Strategy (Schulich School of Business) @jlbalasingam
Why Grand Challenges Canada? This organization encompasses two areas of interest that I am extremely passionate about: impact investing and global health. Grand Challenges Canada strives to save and help people with the power of science, technology, business and social innovation. Through the course of my summer internship, I hope to develop essential technical and personal skills, as the Business Analyst summer student, and to become more knowledgeable about current social issues, in order to be an impactful leader in the future.
Lipi Mishra – 3rd Year LL.B/BCL Joint Common Law & Civil Law (McGill University, Faculty of Law) @LipiMish
Grand Challenges Canada is at the forefront of innovation, not only with the projects that it funds, but also with respect to how the organization itself operates. I look forward to being a part of that innovative thinking and learning from my colleagues this summer. Also, being housed in the MaRS Discovery District will definitely provide an exciting source of enrichment and inspiration. This summer, I intend to nurture and cultivate my interest in a very particular niche within global health: the nexus between global health and intellectual property law. I am also excited to work under the mentorship of Ms. Jocelyn Mackie and learn about all of the nuances associated with the legal side of Grand Challenges Canada’s operations.
Finance & Grant Administration
Amna Manzoor – 3rd Year BBA Finance (Schulich School of Business) @amna_manzoor16
It may seem surprising that a business student would have a passion for global health. In the summer of 2012, I came up with an idea for establishing a micro-insurance program in developing countries. I have come across several heartbreaking stories of people unable to get timely treatment for themselves or their families, which then resulted in either aggravating the disease or a loss in the family. Grand Challenges Canada is an ardent supporter of bold ideas in global health and focuses on bringing innovation to scale. It is the ideal platform where I can communicate my vision to other individuals who place value in innovation in global health aimed at improving and saving lives. That’s why I applied as a summer intern at Grand Challenges Canada: to gain some experience and understanding of how an idea such as mine can be implemented.
Shouri Bagchi – 2nd Year IMBA Intl. Business & Strategy (Schulich School of Business) @bagchibhai
I was first exposed to global health issues, particularly that of access to healthcare, when I broke my hand in rural Thailand and had to take an overnight train ride to the closest large city for diagnosis and treatment. When I learned about Grand Challenges Canada from a former summer student, I jumped at the chance to work with a team dedicated to addressing basic, yet critical, life-threatening issues plaguing the developing world. As a Communications intern, I have a unique opportunity to learn about the various programs at Grand Challenges Canada as I create content for our media platforms. Additionally, I have set myself the goal of honing my understanding of social media management and its use in strategic communications.