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Accolades abound for BW alumna focused on global health

Some might say Clara Harb '19 has a golden ticket when it comes to her career trek. The hard-working alumna is fast-tracking achievements in global health and bioethics.

photo of Clara Harb in France

Harb, a BW biology and French and Francophone studies major from Cleveland, is accruing degrees, accolades and amazing opportunities. She juggled two master's degrees - public health with a global health concentration and bioethics and medical humanities - while working full time as a senior associate in the Global Health Division at Chemonics International.

photo of Clara Harb with Think Tank group

In December, she graduated from Case Western Reserve University with her degrees. Through her work with Chemonics, she supports the United States Agency for International Development's End Malaria Project based in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

She secured the coveted position with Chemonics after six months of interviews and demonstrating skills in French, diplomacy and project management. She also met the requirement of having a background in malaria.

At the same time, she was a 2022 member of the American Journal of Public Health Student Think Tank. The Think Tank is a cohort of six public health students from across the U.S. and Canada who serve as liaisons between the American Journal of Public Health staff and current public health students. Harb was chosen from a pool of over 200 applicants.

Making her Mark at BW

From leadership to service to academic pursuits, Harb made the most of her BW experience. She was active with the International Film Series, Middle Eastern Culture Club, Brain Center for Community Engagement and Delta Zeta sorority. She was also named a 2019 BW Outstanding Senior.

photo of Clara Harb in Paris

In a research lab under the direction of BW's Dr. Jeffrey Zahratka, Harb studied bioinformatics and genomics. She believes that experience piqued her interest in population health and allowed her to see how her biology major could be applied to graduate studies in global health. That project, along with mentoring from her advisor Dr. Carrie Davis Todd, helped her gain a foundation for a career path.

Likewise, Dr. Nadia Sahely, her French advisor, helped her navigate prestigious opportunities. Among them, Harb studied abroad in Paris with the Mission Interuniversitaire de Coordination des Échanges Franco-Américains (MICEFA) Public Health and Medicine Program in June 2018 and French Language and Culture Program in July 2018 to further her academic and cultural education. This Parisian opportunity was her first exposure to public health and enabled her to meld both majors. Her time there further solidified plans to return to Paris after her BW studies.

She applied to the Fulbright Scholar Program for study and research in Paris and was named a 2019 semi-finalist, an elite honor considering the number of applicants. That same year, Harb participated in the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPF), where she taught English to middle schoolers at the Académie of Versailles in the Ile-de-France region (Paris-Versailles-Créteil).

A Serendipitous Start

photo of Clara Harb iat BW graduation

Harb admits her entry to BW was happenstance. She was initially committed to a different school, but that fell through two days before move-in day.

"I was scrambling to figure out what to do. My dad brought up BW and noted that he had heard good things. Given that classes were set to start the following week, I immediately submitted my application," she recalled.

"I do not think I could have found such a supportive community, world-class professors or had such wonderful post-graduate opportunities without the education I received at BW," Harb emphasized.

"Before discovering global health and international development, I did not think I would be able to find a career that combined my passions for biology, French and advocacy in a way that was fulfilling," she noted. "It all came together perfectly for me."

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