Global Health Senior Receives Fulbright Award to Teach English in Cambodia

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April 22, 2021 – Alyssa Erin Kardos Loera (NHS’21) is a senior global health major who has received a Fulbright Award. After graduation, she will be teaching English in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. “I am so thankful to have been a global health major in the NHS. While the major gives us a taste of every global health sector, I still had a very personalized experience,” she says.

Alyssa Erin Kardos Loera stands in front of a river and a tree landscape.
Alyssa Erin Kardos Loera (NHS’21)

Question: Where did you grow up, and how did you learn about Georgetown?

Kardos Loera: I grew up in Moreno Valley, California. My family carries a strong history of overcoming divides to pursue better opportunities. My mothers’ parents moved to Southern California from Jalisco, Mexico, when my mother was a young girl in order to provide their seven children with better education and economic opportunities. Motivated by their story, my aunts and mother all became teachers, with a couple of them even in education administration now. By pursuing a Fulbright grant, I am excited to continue my family’s tradition of education. 

In high school, I rode the train 1.5-2 hours each way every day in order to have a better education than what my own city could offer me, one that also specialized in the arts. I learned about Georgetown through searching global health programs, where I found the NHS. 

Question: What drew you to want to study in the health field?

Kardos Loera: Throughout high school, I spent a lot of time in Mexico at a shelter for women and children. It was during my time there that I became frustrated by the inequity I saw between the US and Mexico’s health care systems. My Mexican background only made this desire to correct health inequity strong, especially as my family began to tell me stories of our family abroad. I ended up studying global health in order to understand the reasons why health opportunities and outcomes differ so widely. Being a global health major during COVID only made that even more pertinent.

Question: How have you enjoyed the global health major?

Kardos Loera: I am so thankful to have been a global health major in the NHS. While the major gives us a taste of every global health sector, I still had a very personalized experience. I’ve had so many supportive professors who have helped me grow throughout the four years. The diversity of the faculty has been especially helpful in allowing me to see many of the topics we discuss from a truly international perspective rather than US-centric. 

Question: Tell us about the activities you are involved in at Georgetown.

Kardos Loera: At Georgetown, I became a total Model United Nations (MUN) nerd. By joining the MUN team my first year, I was exposed to lessons in international relations and diplomacy. This taught me to bridge divides, foster exchange and understanding, and value each individual’s unique experiences, while also gaining an appreciation for my own background.

My desire to unite people brought me to the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (the Lab), an initiative to humanize global politics through theatre, where I have worked as the administrative assistant for the past year. 

Other activities include getting to know Georgetown better through New Student Orientation (NSO), Blue & Gray Tour Guide Society, and the Georgetown Farmers’ Market! 

Question: What work will you be doing through your Fulbright Award and what are your plans for the future?

Kardos Loera: I will be serving as an English teaching assistant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Once there, I’ll teach English in a high school, running creative arts and MUN activities, and work at the American embassy. 

My journey to gain access to participation in MUN and an education at Georgetown has encouraged me to pursue a career that would allow me to bridge divides in the world around and beyond me, such as the US Foreign Service. In particular, I am most interested in breaking down barriers to international health and gender equality, and I hope to engage conversations around these complex issues through arts and education programming.