Jack Andraka, a junior in anthropology and electrical engineering has been awarded the 2018 Truman Scholarship for Graduate Studies. He plans to put his training in engineering, anthropology and data science to work as a public health physician devoted to addressing global health inequities affecting citizens in low- and middle-income countries.
Jack is one of 59 exceptional college students chosen from across the nation for the scholarship, which provides up to $30,000 for graduate study – in the United States or abroad – to students who want to attend graduate school in preparation for a career in public service.
Andraka's honors thesis in anthropology focuses on Sierra Leone: Disease Dollars: An Ethnographic Study of Foreign Aid and Ebola in Sierra Leone. Andraka hopes to study how environmental contaminants violate the health and human rights of disadvantaged populations in the impoverished West African country.
He is also writing an honors thesis in electrical engineering, A Novel Paper Biosensor for the Detection of Infectious Diseases and Environmental Contaminants, which describes the sensors he developed that detect 20 different diseases or contaminants in five minutes at a cost of less than one cent.
As a Truman Scholar, Andraka intends to enter an MD/MPH (Doctor of Medicine/Master of Public Health) program specializing in global health.
"The MD degree would enable me to frame my engineering background within medicine and provide me with an appreciation for the clinical realities of working in global health," Andraka wrote in his Truman Scholarship application. "In doing so, I will be able to work with communities in clinical settings to better understand locally relevant issues and design programs to address them. The Master of Public Health degree, alongside my anthropology training, will provide me with a deep understanding of broader socioeconomic, environmental and political determinants of health."
Eventually, Andraka hopes to become a public health physician devoted to addressing the global health inequities in low- and middle-income countries, where life expectancy is 36 years lower than in high-income countries.
Please join us in congratulating Jack on his excellent achievement!
Excerpted from Stanford News, "Stanford junior wins 2018 Truman Scholarship for graduate studies," April 13, 2018.