Jun 20, 2017

Summer Intern Series: Nivedha Meyyappan, Communications

This summer, we’re excited to welcome five interns to Global Headquarters! Hailing from four GlobeMed chapters from across the country, these interns will serve as integral parts of GlobeMed’s work as we expand our technology platforms, grow our communications and partnerships strategy, and gear up for another year of chapter engagement and support.

Our second summer intern at Global Headquarters is Nivedha Meyyappan, who will be working on Communications. She is a rising junior at Indiana University – Bloomington, who joined GlobeMed as a freshman. Besides human rights, she is passionate about music. She is a singer and a pianist, and loves creating fusion pieces that mix Indian and American music. Here’s a mashup of ‘Love Yourself’ by Justin Bieber and ‘Jeena Jeena’ by Atif Aslam that she recorded in 2016 . Music has taught her that it’s a lot easier to build bridges between people and cultures than it might seem.

Nivedha Meyyappan

Chapter: GlobeMed at Indiana University

Major: International Studies and Human Biology

Year: 2019

Hometown: Carmel, Indiana

What’s your story?

I was born in India but my family moved to the United States when I was a baby, so I’ve lived here almost my entire life. I’m currently a rising junior at Indiana University, and it’s been a great two years so far! I’m not sure when I became interested in human rights and development, but we visited India every few years, where I saw the richest of rich and the poorest of poor on the same street, and this definitely played a role in informing my ideas about society and disparity. When we were there a few years ago, my mom pointed to a girl. She was roughly the same age as I was, working as a maid. My mom explained that it was her circumstances that did not allow her to go to school. It wasn’t as though I was any more capable of achieving than her. It was just that I had gotten the opportunity to do so. That was our only difference. Opportunity. That resonated with me and I think that’s when I decided that I wanted to use my education and experiences to help other people get the opportunities that they deserve.

What drew you to GlobeMed?

I did the typical freshman thing at the involvement fair – picked up every other flyer and signed up for way too many callout meetings. But at the GlobeMed meeting, I think it was the focus on ghU and the partnership model that really pulled in me in. I loved the ghU topics we discussed in meetings every week. Before we try and tackle the problems in our world, we need to be fully aware of them first and GlobeMed recognizes this crucial step.

Also, I think the partnership model is really important because we empower organizations that are already integrated into the community. Throwing money and resources into a community without understanding what they really need is detrimental. We discussed this concept extensively in a Diplomacy Lab research class I took last semester and that made me appreciate GlobeMed even more. Aid should be focused on empowering a community to the point where they are completely self-sustainable, not to put ourselves in a recurring position of power over them.

What positions do you hold in your chapter?

I joined GlobeMed as a freshman, I was the Communications Director my sophomore year and I will be the ghU Coordinator this upcoming year!

What’s your role at Global Headquarters this summer?

I’m a Communications intern this summer and my main responsibilities are creating the annual impact report, updating marketing materials and working on the rebranding of GlobeMed. I’m especially excited for the last one since it’s a huge project and can help expand and renovate GlobeMed. I’ve always loved design elements like color and typography so it’ll be great to understand how these tie into marketing and PR.  I’ll also be helping with the event capture of the upcoming Leadership Institute.

What personal significance does GlobeMed’s mission bring to you?

People dying of easily preventable diseases, lack of access to clean water, low awareness of health issues – these are things that we can fix with the right allocation of initiative and funding. My great-uncle was mentally disabled and I’ve always wondered, if there were more resources available and greater awareness in society, would his life have been different? And how much have things actually improved over the years? Where you were born and the amount of money you were born into shouldn’t decide whether you get to live or die. I think GlobeMed’s mission for global health equity is really important and I can’t wait to see where we go in the next few years.

What are you studying? Do you know what you’d like to do in the future, and if your studies will relate?

Always the million dollar question. Honestly when I started college, I had no idea what I wanted to study. I considered everything from medicine to music to computer science. After freshman year, I decided that I wanted to major in international studies but I also wanted to keep a science component so I added the human biology major to my plan. The coursework has been amazing so far and I do think it will relate to my future because I would like to work with global health and human rights. I’m particularly interested in drug policy reform and neonatal withdrawal so I hope that in next few years, I will find the right space where I can work on these topics and many more.

What are you most excited about doing in a new city for the summer?

Thirteen years (and counting) in Indiana gets you pretty excited to go somewhere new! I really want to explore all the small, cute places around Northwestern and also go to Chicago as much as I can – especially for the food festivals and museums.

Words: Nivedha Meyyappan. Photo: Balungile Belz

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