Ngirbabul ’16 lands Fulbright in India

Recent Cornell graduate Michelle Ngirbabul ’16 has been awarded a Fulbright research grant in India, an assignment shaped by interests she developed at Cornell and in her individualized major in global health studies.

Michelle Ngirbabul '16
Michelle Ngirbabul ’16

Her nine-month project will explore iron supplement compliance in young and pregnant women in Maharashtra, India.

“I developed a strong interest in public health interventions in India through countless research papers for my classes with politics professors David Yamanishi and Aparna Thomas,” Ngirbabul said, “and this interest in India only grew during my public health internship in India after graduation.”

Her third advisor, Professor of Biology Barbara Christie-Pope, was equally influential.

“I took Professor Christie-Pope’s course on global health my sophomore year, and I never was the same. I knew exactly what I was interested in after that course: health as a fundamental human right and the projects made to ensure it,” she said.

Her three advisors worked together with her to create an individualized major in global health studies, combining several disciplines to get a holistic view of the factors that impede securing health for all.

“They helped me strengthen my writing skills, analytical ability, and character,” she said. “My ability to do research is a testament to their thorough feedback and constructive criticism. Their expectations pushed me to set high standards for my work. The freedom to explore my ideas and interests also helped me determine what I wanted to study in graduate school and what I want for a career. My advisors have been incredible support systems, and Cornellians are lucky to have them.”

Although she was no longer on campus, Ngirbabul found that Cornell staff was still devoted to her success. She said Writing Studio Director and Director of Fellowships and Scholarships Laura Farmer was instrumental in helping her with her ideas and essays for her Fulbright application, and the registrar team helped get her transcripts in order.

Following her one-year Fulbright, Ngirbabul plans to attend graduate school for a dual-degree master of public health and master of arts in international development. Her dream job is with USAID’s Foreign Service as a global health specialist.