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Scott Jelinek '10

international studies program

Photo of Scott Jelinek

While in high school, Scott Jelinek '10 read a biography on international public health expert, Dr. Paul Farmer, and it was a revelatory experience. “I always knew when applying to college that I was interested in medicine and traveling,” says Jelinek, “but it was not until I read Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World and then going to Ghana that I realized my interest in medicine, service, and international travel was a passion for international public health.”

Jelinek is a Boston College Presidential Scholar who is majoring in international studies with a concentration in health care policy and a minor in theology. A native of Wellesley, Massachusetts, Jelinek says Farmer’s inspirational life story was key in determining his course of study as an undergraduate. “I came to Boston College with a new commitment to learning about economics, history, and politics and how all this impacts health around the world,” says Jelinek.

To date, Jelinek has conducted three independent research projects in Africa through the support of Boston College Advanced Study Grants (a program that supports student-designed projects). His first grant allowed him to travel to Ghana in the summer following his sophomore year. While there, he worked at the West African AIDS Foundation, shadowing a physician who treated HIV-infected individuals. He also participated in educational outreach programs in Ghana’s capital, Accra. In the summer following his junior year, he worked with NGOs in Kenya and Uganda designing a health care program and curriculum that teaches about HIV/AIDS and encourages testing. A third grant sent him to Mozambique, where he evaluated an HIV/AIDS education pilot program.

“My research experience has enabled me to build upon the concepts of economic development and cultural studies that I learned in the classroom,” Jelinek says. He plans to use his research for his Honors thesis to propose making health education, specifically targeting HIV/AIDS prevention, a component of the services rendered to women by micro-finance organizations. Jelinek has already shared his data and research findings at a number of academic conferences, including a recent conference at North Carolina State University where he presented on “Micro-Economics, Institutional Policies, and HIV/AIDS in Mozambique.” Additionally, he has published in Boston College’s Economic Research Journal, The Eagletarian, and in the University’s Bioethics Research Journal, Ethos.

Jelinek was recently accepted to Mount Sinai School of Medicine's Humanities and Medicine program where he will pursue a joint medical degree and master of public health degree in their global health track. He plans on deferring his admission in order to participate in Teach For America in Colorado where he will teach secondary science in a public school setting and pursue a master’s degree in education. “After graduate school, I plan on working in the area of global public health and focusing on disparities in health education and working with policy in the public service sector,” he says.

Jelinek says his Boston College experience prepared him well for a future in international public health, “I applied to the International Studies major my sophomore year and I have found that it has been the perfect program to give me both a strong foundation for understanding the major influences on international politics and an in-depth focus on issues of global health care.”