Mac Segars

Mac Segars ’10

Passion for global health

My friends say that going to Clemson was one of the best decisions of their lives. For me, attending Clemson wasn’t much of a decision; the education and scholarships offered by Clemson made it an unbeatable option. I couldn’t sit still when I found out I’d been accepted; I’ve had a lifetime of love for Clemson and couldn’t wait to be a Tiger.

Though I studied math, Clemson helped me explore another passion of mine: global health. I took a discussion-based course on infectious disease and worked with faculty to complete a senior research paper on the prevention of influenza transmission.

Most importantly, though, Clemson’s Honor College allowed me to spend a summer building houses in an impoverished community in India. That experience exposed me to the material needs of developing nations as well as establishing my ability to assimilate in their cultures. It gave me the passion and confidence to join the Peace Corps after graduation.

My two years with the Peace Corps in Mozambique has been a challenge. I arrive to my community via canoe (mind the hippos!) and have a six-hour hitchhiking journey just to check my mail. I teach 11th grade math in Portuguese, a language that I saw for the first time only 10 weeks before classes started. Aside from teaching, I’ve helped coordinate a provincial science fair and a national women’s empowerment organization. I’m also finalizing plans to develop a sustainable school meal program at a nearby primary school.

The passion I developed for global health at Clemson has only grown as I’ve experienced the reality of health care access in rural Mozambique. It’s a reality that still shakes me every day. Though I work primarily as a teacher, I also volunteer at my community’s health center. HIV, tuberculosis and malaria are all very common, but nothing has affected me more than witnessing infants with severe malnutrition. If they weren’t cradled in my arms, it would be hard to imagine children whose parents are too poor to feed them.

My work at the health center has inspired me to return to medical school and study to become a pediatrician. I hope to split my time between working with America’s urban poor and the most health care-deprived populations in the world via Doctors Without Borders. It’s a future that I can’t wait to start and one that I owe, at least in part, to Clemson.

Though I studied math, Clemson helped me explore another passion of mine: global health. I took a discussion-based course on infectious disease and worked with faculty to complete a senior research paper on the prevention of influenza transmission. Most importantly, though, Clemson’s Honors College allowed me to spend a summer building houses in an impoverished community in India. That experience exposed me to the material needs of developing nations as well as establishing my ability to assimilate in their cultures. It gave me the passion and confidence to join the Peace Corps after graduation.

View a video about Mac’s experiences in Mozambique:

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