International Health Sophomore Serves Community Through Multiple Activities

JANUARY 29, 2014 - Shradha Chhabria (NHS’16), an international health major from Pennsylvania, says Georgetown has presented the best of both worlds – an education at a top-tier university and a tight-knit learning community.

“I love being in NHS,” says the pre-med sophomore.  “That adds a lot of value to the Georgetown experience.  I get the best of both worlds.  I get to study exactly what I want because it’s a large university and we have the resources to do that.  And I still get that small college feeling from being in NHS because I know everyone I pass in the halls and really get to know my professors.”

ESCAPE Leader

Last academic year, Chhabria attended ESCAPE – a nondenominational retreat program sponsored by the Office of Campus Ministry.  This year, she serves as a team leader.

“It’s a really, really amazing part of Georgetown,” she says.  “It’s the kind of experience that you are so emotionally invested in that it is a joy to go.”

Team leaders help recruit participants and attend at least two ESCAPE retreats a semester.  They must also do a 10-minute personal reflection.  Chhabria recently shared hers.

“It went well,” she says.  “It’s very cathartic.  Campus Ministry really does espouse togetherness throughout campus.  It drives you to be more honest with yourself, more reflective, and more grounded.”

Active Student

In addition to ESCAPE, Chhabria is involved with the Hindu Students Association, sings with the Georgetown University Chapel Choir, and serves as secretary for a new Campus Ministry student organization advisory group.

Within NHS, she has joined the Academic Council and the Minority Health Initiative Council.  Through the former, she has worked on projects like the fundraiser for St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a Jesuit secondary school in Nairobi, Kenya.  And in the latter, she has participated in a nutrition education program at the Perry School Community Services Center.

“We taught nutrition there once a week for four weeks,” she says.  “It was a pilot program.”

Maternal Health

Chhabria – who was recently selected as “Hoya of the Week” by the Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) – says she was attracted to Georgetown because of the international health major.

“It was really the major that drew me in,” she says.  “It’s such a unique experience.  I’ve known I wanted to study international health through most of high school.  I thought I would study a bit of public policy, a bit of international relations, and pre-medicine.  There’s nothing like studying the synthesis of all of them together, especially with experts in the field and through the major’s internships.  After awhile, it became a no brainer to apply for Georgetown’s program.”

Chhabria became interested in the area of maternal health after taking a course that focused on maternal and child health in developing countries.  Last summer, she had the opportunity to travel to India to work in an obstretical and gynecological hospital.

“It was incredible,” she says.  “I almost fainted after the first live birth.  But after that, I was completely fine.” 

By Bill Cessato