Master of Public Health Student
While conducting pediatric cerebral malaria research in Kampala, Uganda, Crystal Shen worked closely with children who suffered neurological injury due to malaria.
“Seeing comatose child after comatose child reinforced my desire for improved prevention and control of the disease,” Shen says, “and drove home my career vision of reducing the global burden of infectious diseases.”
As an undergraduate, Shen had advocated for the homeless in Cleveland and assisted with recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. “Working with people and hearing their stories, I realized how deeply a lack of access to resources affected their lives and their health,” she says.
As an engineer at Merck after graduation, Shen worked on the HPV vaccine and furthered her interest in global infectious disease work. Committed to alleviating the burden of suffering from global infectious diseases, she has also worked as a NIH Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar in Nanjing, China, performing STD/HIV research in high-risk populations, including female sex workers.
Shen wants to specialize in pediatric infectious diseases, combining clinical care, research and health systems improvement. “I envision drawing upon my backgrounds in engineering, medicine and public health to foster interdisciplinary efforts towards addressing infectious disease issues,” she says.