Jolynn Meza Wynkoop, 2018 graduate of the Master of Science in Global Health program, discusses what called her to the global health field, her current service with Catholic Medical Mission Board in Peru, and her plans for the future.
Q. Tell us about how and when you first became interested in global health.
A. I have always been drawn towards learning about people who have given their lives to serve others. Saint Teresa (Mother Teresa of Calcutta) has been an inspiration to me from the start. Her work in administering to the poor has always touched my heart and I knew at the time, that whatever I did in the future, I wanted to be able to serve others spiritually, physically, and emotionally. During the summer of 2014, I joined a group of students from the Newman Center at Oregon State University on a mission trip to San Ignacio, Belize. Through this trip, my eyes were opened to the inequalities that existed when it came to clean running water, access to medical services, and adequate infrastructure. The opportunity that the mission presented me with was to minister to the people spiritually, but I knew that there were also other necessities that the people had. Upon arriving back into the U.S., I decided that I would devote some of my time to learning about global health and the ways in which I could use my skills and gifts to help others around the world living in poverty.
Q. What are you doing now professionally/academically?
A. Currently, I am serving as a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) specialist with Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) in Huancayo, Peru. I was inspired to serve as a volunteer with CMMB after learning about their mission, “Inspired by the example of Jesus, CMMB works in partnership globally to deliver locally sustainable, quality health solutions to women, children, and their communities.” During my time at ND in the MSGH program, I learned a lot about what sustainability truly meant in a global health context. Knowing that CMMB worked to achieve this type of sustainable work in the communities they served, I felt that this organization would be one in which I could look up to and feel proud about working for.
Q. What is your most memorable experience at Notre Dame and why?
A. I don’t know if I could choose just one experience because there were so many amazing aspects of my one year in South Bend. The people, the snow, the friends I made through leading a bible study, the chance to grow deeper in faith, the inspiring classes I took, the professors who spent their time really helping me to learn, the opportunity to study with some of the brightest people I have ever met, and the chance to get to travel abroad all make the list of most memorable moments. My favorite part of the MSGH program was getting to travel to the Amazon Rainforest in Tena, Ecuador to conduct research for my capstone project.
Q. Do you have any plans for the future? If so, what are they?
A. After finishing my volunteer service here in Peru, I plan on moving back home to the U.S. I hope to find a job in the global health field where I can use the skills I have learned through my undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering, the MSGH program, and by serving abroad. One of my career goals is to work for an organization where I can serve as a leader for global health projects being developed in other countries.
Q. Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself, or something you enjoy doing in your free time?
A. In my free time, I love to play soccer (I basically grew up on the pitch), take photos of all things beautiful, workout at the local gym, make delicious smoothies and scrumptious banana bread, eat all things chocolate, watch new movies, make travel plans/find new places to explore, read books, talk on the phone with my friends and family, have spontaneous bible studies, listen to some of my favorite Catholic podcasts, and sleep.
Jolynn has also been featured on the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) blog:
See more pictures from Jolynn's work in Peru: