International internship sheds light on career goals

Carrie Nacht

UIC graduate student Carrie Nacht. Photo: Fan Wang

UIC graduate student Carrie Nacht traveled to Kisumu, Kenya, this summer to explore her future career in global health.

Like many students, Nacht was unsure of her career path after graduation. Yet, her time at the clinic gave her clarity in her future goals.

Nacht’s desire to gain exposure working in a real-life setting motivated her to go abroad. UIC epidemiology professor Robert Bailey is the interim director of the clinic where Nacht and five other students interned. Under the supervision of Supriya Mehta, Nacht conducted data analysis on patients with gonorrhea.

“Going there you get to go in the field and see how research is conducted,” said Nacht, who is completing her master’s in epidemiology and global health, and her MBA in business analytics. She is also working as a graduate assistant in the UIC Environmental Health Safety Office.

“If I hadn’t seen all the moving parts of how research is done internationally, then I would not have realized that [I wanted to go into research].”

In addition to pursuing research, Nacht hopes to get her Ph.D., and ultimately work in sexual health on an international scale.

Throughout the course of her internship, Nacht lived with a local family, which allowed her to immerse herself in their culture. She also was able to travel outside of Kenya to Uganda and Tanzania.

Nacht hopes that other students dive out of their comfort zone and take advantage of the travel opportunities around them.

“If you wait for the perfect time, then you will never go, because there is no perfect time,” Nacht said. “Once you get out of school, the chances of having an opportunity like this are low.”