Placement: Engineering World Health Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Claire Duvallet is defined by the meshing of different cultures, mentalities, and passions: as a French-American speaking English at school and French at home, as a daughter heavily influenced by her social worker mother and engineer father, and as a student juggling her love of music and science. Claire recently graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor’s Degree in biomedical engineering. She hopes to pursue an interdisciplinary Ph.D in engineering and global health. Her ultimate goal is to work on developing and implementing technologies to improve health in developing countries, a career choice inspired by her work in Dr. Samuel Sia’s Molecular and Microscale Bioengineering Lab. She joined this lab in the fall of her junior year, working on a project to develop a microfluidic device capable of diagnosing tuberculosis in resource-limited settings. When finished, the robust and low-maintenance chip will quickly process a raw sample into a simple diagnosis without requiring extensively trained personnel. Claire is fascinated by the challenge of addressing complex health problems with unique solutions appropriate for the specific constraints posed by remote settings. Claire’s various international experiences have also influenced her goals by shaping her desire to continue discovering, exploring, and learning from new cultures and lifestyles. In spring 2011, Claire studied abroad at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia where she balanced her coursework with travelling in Australia and New Zealand. Upon her return, Claire began working with Columbia’s Office of Global Programs to actively encourage engineering students to consider studying abroad. She also led a small group of students to bring therapy dogs to Columbia during finals week for the first biannual Puppies Study Break, hoping to share the work-life balance she discovered abroad with her fellow Columbia students. Claire also enjoys serving as a mentor for other students, having tutored both college and high school students throughout her time at Columbia and serving as a Teaching Assistant for the biomedical engineering section of the freshman introductory engineering course. She loves working with students to play with difficult concepts until they arrive at a genuine understanding of the material, and hopes to continue teaching and mentoring in her future career. In her free time, Claire enjoys playing percussion in the Columbia University Orchestra, playing ultimate Frisbee, swing dancing, and going on adventures.
Engineering World Health (EWH) is a non-profit organization which mobilizes the biomedical engineering community to improve the quality of healthcare in hospitals serving resource-poor communities of the developing world. EWH Cambodia has signed an MOU with the Cambodian Ministry of Health, the Department of Human Resource Development and Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for an initiative addressing critically important healthcare needs in Cambodia, including educating and training the next generation of biomedical engineers.