Julia Velonjara is a recipient of the Academic Year 2015-2016 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. The award provides undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students with financial support to develop fluency in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) and expertise in the regions in which these languages are spoken. Every year the Center for Global Studies awards between 12-15 fellowships to UW students. Click here to learn more.
I am an MPH student in the Department of Global Health and I am also pursuing a Global WACh Certificate. My primary interests are in program implementation focusing on reproductive and maternal health of adolescent girls and young women in eastern and southern Africa. I spent the summer in a coastal region of Tanzania for my practicum project studying birth outcomes as well as maternal and infant malaria. Currently, I am working on my thesis focusing on contraceptive knowledge and use among adolescent girls in western Kenya. My interest in East Africa first developed during my undergraduate Anthropology degree and Kiswahili study. I am excited to have the opportunity through the FLAS grant to revitalize my Kiswahili language skills. Improvement of my Kiswahili will allow me to work more effectively in global health with many more populations in parts of Africa.