Avukile Zoya ’17, an international student from South Africa, has received a highly competitive, yearlong Princeton in Africa fellowship. Zoya, who was a molecular biology major and Spanish minor at Colorado College, will be working with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) in Gaborone, Botswana.
She is one of 49 recent graduates from a host of schools around the country who will be working with 31 organizations in 15 African countries next year.
The organization she will be working with is the largest provider of pediatric HIV care and treatment in the world. BIPAI treats more than 300,000 children and adolescents in more than a dozen countries and continues to expand its treatment of other conditions that impact the health and the well-being of children and families worldwide.
The Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Center of Excellence, an extension of BIPAI, is the first of its kind on the African continent. It provides state-of-the-art care and treatment for more than 4,000 HIV-infected children and families from Botswana, both at the center and through its decentralized clinical mentoring program.
“I have always been certain that I would return to Africa after CC and give back to the nation that has given and provided me with so much,” says Zoya. “I am so excited to return and work in the field that I am most passionate about, i.e., public health, and to work with HIV and AIDS adolescents by empowering them to surpass their circumstances and harness their true potential.”
Zoya says her passion was solidified during previous summers when she worked with youth on public health-related issues in South Africa and Colombia. “I think the fellowship will be a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the public health field in Africa and broaden my perspective, culturally and professionally,” she says. “Additionally, this experience will be the platform on which I can build when I attend public health school in the near future.”
Two other Colorado College students received the prestigious fellowship. Anu Atre ’13 was a fellow in Ethiopia and Lauren Schmidt ’16 currently is a fellow in Uganda.
Princeton in Africa, which has a strong service and leadership focus, seeks to develop young leaders committed to Africa’s advancement. Each year, approximately 50 yearlong fellows are paired with organizations that focus on everything from education and public health to civil advocacy and humanitarian aid. The program was founded in 1999 and has placed 500 fellows in a range of career fields in 36 countries.