Nathnael Mengistie

School of Public and International Affairs, Class of 2022

I am a School of Public and International Affairs concentrator pursuing certificates in French and Global Health.

Role(s) held in Humanistic Studies:

Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows

Activities I participate in on campus:

Whitman College RCA, McGraw Learning Consultant, Ascend Hospice Volunteer, Princeton Chess Club

What I have gained from studying the Humanities:

As a SPIA major studying health policy, I spend most of my time thinking about large scale health care issues. As an aspiring physician, however, I also realize that no matter how many
different legislations are passed to improve health outcomes and prevent diseases, people will still die from various illnesses. Thus, understanding patients’ experiences and empathizing with them is crucial which is why I developed a strong interest in the medical humanities. Taking classes in history, religion, and literature introduced me to the literary works of authors such as Anton Chekov and Paul Kalanithi and challenged me to reflect on what it means to be sick. This in turn has helped me reaffirm my commitment to fight for health equity and instilled in me the idea that health is a human right and not a privilege.




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