Name: Billie Featherston
Year of Study: JNR
Major: English creative writing, Minor: Global Health
Hometown: Westlake Village, CA
Why did you choose to pursue the minor in global health?:
I have a lot of interests and ideas for potential career paths, so narrowing down all of my passions into however many degrees I could manage in four years was extremely difficult. Not having enough room in my schedule to double major by the time it came to making a decision, I settled for global health as a minor, as I’ve always had an immense interest in seeing the world and helping those whose lives may not have been as privileged or easy as I have had it.
How does it compliment your core major studies?:
I hope to combine GH with my English degree to one day tell the stories of people living in third-world or low and middle income countries so their voices and needs may be heard, and so people with upbringings similar to mine may be more informed of the very different, and oftentimes harder, lives being led beyond their borders.
What was most valuable about your global health coursework?:
In nearly every class I took through my global health minor, I would leave lecture feeling an array of emotions, some harder to bear than others. Although it was easy to sink beneath the guilt that sometimes accompanied this type of learning, I ultimately came away from this experience and minor with a greater sense of empathy, gratitude, and a much deeper desire to take action, in whatever ways I can, in order to improve humanity and the earth as our home.
What experiences at the UW have been most influential?:
As cliché as this answer is going to sound, I learned so much about myself through my time here. I’m from California, so coming here knowing no one, with all of my support systems two states away, I learned to reset through navigating discomfort. Before college, I was one of those people who didn’t know how to talk about themselves, because I didn’t have many hobbies or passions, and definitely no idea of what I wanted to do with my life. But through the friends I met and connections I made here, I was introduced to all of the hobbies, clubs, and classes that came to define me. I realized not long after enrolling here that I wasn’t really paying tuition because of the degree, although that’s a major part of it for sure— I was paying for the experience, and it has been 100% worth it.
What are your professional goals?:
I have many, many plans for my future, most of them not at all related to each other. As I mentioned a bit before, I definitely plan to do a lot of traveling, especially for a bit with either a nonprofit or the Peace Corps, all the while incorporating my experiences into my writing. Beyond that, I hope to become trilingual at some point, attend graduate school in Europe, and if I dare to dream so big, I’d love to one day start my own nonprofit or wellness/yoga retreat center.
How do you anticipate using your minor in your future?:
I hope to use it not only to lead me into nonprofit or global health work, but at the very least, to help guide my perspectives and morals through my travels across my life so that I may avoid making insensitive/uninformed decisions, statements and assumptions when abroad.
Anything prospective/current GH Minor students should consider to maximize their experience in Global Health (events, classes, global health faculty or staff to connect with, etc. you experienced and enjoyed):
There are so many global health events going on constantly on campus! Go to them, they’re super informative and engaging! I’ve never regretted attending one.