Learning and Doing in Africa

One-third of people in the African nation of Zambia lack access to clean water, and there are high rates of communicable disease. Drexelʼs College of Nursing and Health Professions alumna Katrina Lewis dove into a six-month Drexel co-op there with the global NGO World Vision, working on the WASH (Water, Air, Sanitation, Hygiene) project.

It was the nursing and public health major’s first time outside the United States. She got (and recovered from) malaria. And she launched her own project, a menstrual hygiene management program.

“I learned so much about my strengths and weaknesses in Zambia,” she says. “I was completely immersed in the culture.”

A Commitment to Patients

The first in her family to go to college, Lewis went to Drexel on a highly selective Gates Millennium Scholarship.

She worked as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), a job that began as a Drexel co-op and helped build her rapport with patients. “I feel like Iʼve never put anything other than my best foot forward for my patients, and I feel like they know that.”

Exciting Plans

Further education and exploration lie ahead. “There are so many routes to go in nursing. Eventually I want to open my own clinic or work as a travel nurse. Then Iʼll go back for my masterʼs. I ultimately want to be a midwife.”