Senior Stories: Selam Bedada: Bringing healthcare back home

From day one, Selamawit Bedada knew what she wanted to do with her life.

Growing up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Bedada saw firsthand the problems of an inefficient and unequal healthcare system for the impoverished. And she wanted to be the one to change it.

When Bedada came to the United States for college, she enrolled in the Elliott School of International Affairs, looking to receive a degree with concentrations in international economics and development studies. In doing so, she kept her childhood memories with her and developed the mindset that one day she would use the skills she learned to help restructure her hometown’s healthcare.

“My brother and I spent a lot of time in hospitals,” Bedada said, “We saw all the sick people and how the system works and how the health system has to be strengthened to give everyone equal access to health care.”

Bedada’s first jobs while at GW really helped embed her into the University’s community. She was a house proctor during both her junior and senior years, a CI Staffer before the summer of her senior year and has worked at the University Police Department as a student supervisor for three years. Bedada was also the social chair of the Muslim Students Association during her sophomore year and founded a United Nations Children’s Fund group on campus after learning that GW was the only D.C. university to not have one.

During her senior year, Bedada took her interest in UNICEF farther, working there as an outreach intern under the Office of Public Policy and Advocacy. For her job, Bedada interacted with many local high school students and conducted presentations that taught them of social problems facing children around the world.

When she graduates this fall, Bedada will remain at GW as a Presidential Administrative Fellow to get her master’s degree in public health. She also hopes to one day get a doctorate degree in the same field and has decided to stay at GW because of the close proximity to international organizations like the World Health Organization – an organization she hopes to work with in the future.

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