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March 13, 2020

Student Spotlight: Eleanor Miskovsky

Eleanor Miskovsky (C'23) is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences studying biology and pursuing the pre-medical concentration. She was a Global Health Initiative fellow working in a molecular microbiology lab with Dr. Steven Singer.

Tell us why are you interested in global health?

I have been interested in medicine and health care since I was in lower and high school, when excellent science teachers, especially women, encouraged me to pursue a future in STEM. In addition, growing up in Washington, DC and participating in national political issues in my hometown has allowed me to become directly involved in policy-oriented conversations. These conversations and debates have been a central part of my learning, especially during the Trump administration and its war on science. Some conversations I enjoy most focus on how to most optimally distribute resources and services to every community member. Although many see policy and science as divergent fields, I have worked to find outlets to express my passion for the fusion between science and politics through the field of global health, such as the March for Science and March for Climate, and of course, the Global Health Initiative Fellows’ Program. 

What are some global health events you have participated in on campus/in D.C.? 

I began work in Dr. Steven Singer’s lab this semester studying the mechanisms of the giardia parasite and its effect on individuals in environments with improper sanitation, particularly children. Currently, I am working with a graduate student constructing DNA plasmids that can be used to facilitate studying parasite progression during giardiasis. For example, one DNA plasmid we are constructing contains a firefly luciferase gene, which produce light under certain conditions; therefore, when this plasmid is placed into giardia parasites which are then used to infect mice, the locations of the parasite glow when the mouse’s infection is studied in vivo. One of the main questions other researchers in the lab are working to answer is whether giardiasis causes growth stunting in children by disrupting the ability of the epithelial cells (line the small intestine) to absorb nutrients. Projects such as these help further potential treatments for those suffering from this parasite’s infection and provide a meaningful framework for work in the lab. In addition, through this fellowship, I had the pleasure of meeting Professor Jishnu Das of the McCourt School of Public Policy, who specializes in the economization of global health care systems. His perspective is very interesting and useful for me, as its wide scope is in stark contrast to my molecular work in the lab, further adding to my perspective and allowing me to consider the more policy-oriented side of global health.

What activities are you involved with on campus?

This is my first year at Georgetown, and I have become involved with Georgetown’s Renewable Energy and Environmental Network (GREEN), working in particular on their energy and water conservation team, and also am a member of the Georgetown Running Club. Working in the lab and learning more about research and molecular microbiology has also become a main focus this semester. Finally, next year I will live in the Spirit of Georgetown Residential Academy, a living and learning community dedicated to embodying the Jesuit values in daily life. I will live on floor dedicated to interreligious dialogue and am excited to live more deliberately through this experience. I also am looking to expand my extracurricular activities in the coming years.

What is your favorite part about being at Georgetown?

The community at Georgetown is incredible. I have met a wide array of people, of various backgrounds and interests. Within the science program, both students and mentors favor collaboration over competition and foster environments that reflect Georgetown’s identity as a Jesuit university. This also provides a purpose and perspective to all academic work. There is a strong emphasis on helping others and the value of cura personalis (care for the whole person), reflected in the Georgetown Global Health Initiative. I have enjoyed meeting and learning from other students and community members so far, and only look forward to expanding and deepening these relationships in the coming years. 

Tell us about your educational and professional aspirations.

I am in the pre-medical program here, and currently hope to practice medicine in the future. My greatest goal within the medical field is to develop relationships with patients and understand how their treatments transcend anatomical and physiological science, especially with regards to health care policy. This is a main reason that the student fellows’ program with Georgetown’s Global Health Initiative is so thrilling to me; I will always love science but I believe an appreciation for the interdisciplinary nature of health care is invaluable.