Skip to Main Content


Melanie Curry - Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Melanie Curry, an EMD masters student, collecting sewage in Pau da Lima.

Career goal: Working as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer with the CDC focusing on neglected tropical diseases along with outbreak prevention and response.

Internship outline: I spent the summer working in Salvador, Brazil looking at the effects of closing open sewers on the prevalence of environmental Leptospira in urban slums. I worked with a team of researchers from the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) and Fiocruz (the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation) to better understand how bacterial Leptospira is spread in the slum environment and what community interventions would have the most long-term impact on reducing infection risk.

Value of experience: My experience in Brazil this summer is invaluable to me. Not only did I have the opportunity to get firsthand experience with field work, I also learned how to coordinate a team of researchers and field staff in a professional environment.

Best moment/experience: The overall best experience for me on this trip was getting to know the Fiocruz laboratory staff and the students from UFBA. They welcomed me with open arms and made the entire experience worth having. I am thrilled to continue to work with them while finishing my master's here at YSPH.

Funding source: Downs Fellowship