USF Global Spotlight

Katie Lesser

Katie Lesser

Katie Lesser, Class of 2019

October 1, 2019

Katie Lesser’s passion for global health stemmed from a teacher in high school. After taking biology with a teacher that had Cystic Fibrosis (CF), she felt inspired to pursue a career in the health industry.

“He was a 10-year double-lung transplant survivor,” Lesser said. “He was such an incredible inspiration and a champion for his students. When he passed away my senior year, I knew I definitely wanted to stay on the path I started after taking his class, and I have been pursuing global health studies ever since.”

That inspiring teacher helped turned Lesser into an inspiration herself.

Having always been a supporter of vaccinations, Lesser began working for Shot@Life, an organization within the United Nations Foundation that champions global childhood vaccines. The organization presented her with the opportunity to attend and advocate for global vaccine programs on Capitol Hill. She enjoyed her previous two trips to Washington D.C. so much that traveled north again at the end of September to continue her efforts.

Despite having a passion and drive to work in global health after her graduate studies, Lesser knew early on in her college career that she’d need stand-out experience if she wanted to work in the industry.

That’s when she decided one study abroad program wouldn’t be enough. Her first trip was during her undergraduate studies in the Honors College to London. Upon arrival in grad school, Lesser discovered she could go abroad again on an exchange. She traveled to the University of Copenhagen as they have one of the best Schools of Global Health in the world.

“I learned an incredible amount of information from the professors at the University of Copenhagen, and I really feel like I was able to round out my master’s studies with a unique global experience that I hadn’t previously had,” she said.

Lesser will graduate with her Master of Public Health with concentrations in Epidemiology and Global Communicable Disease later this year. She hopes to continue working with Shot@Life throughout her career and advocating for global health.