Nina Sheth '06, Humanitarian Aid
As a freshman at Bryn Mawr, Nina Sheth ’06 faced her first formal research paper. Some of her classmates were daunted by the assignment, but Sheth remembers being excited. “That was the first time that I’d ever been able to pick my own topic to research in depth. I wrote about Islam in the seventh century, a topic I continued to explore in college as well.”
Sheth credits Bryn Mawr with giving her the opportunity to be the architect of her own experience, shaping her academic and cocurricular involvement around the topics that she was passionate about: international studies, community service, and social justice. “I was exposed to the international sphere a lot earlier than my college peers,” she says. “That, and the emphasis that Bryn Mawr put on community service, got me engaged in my community in a way that I would not have, had I not gone to Bryn Mawr.”
After graduating from Wesleyan University, Sheth applied for a grant from the Princeton in Africa program, which seeks to develop young leaders committed to Africa’s advancement. Sheth received funding to work with the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian organization that provides aid for refugees of war or disaster. For the first several months of her assignment, she was stationed in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. However, in the weeks following a disastrous election that dissolved the country into civil conflict, Sheth was airlifted out. She finished her assignment in neighboring Liberia, where she worked to provide aid to Ivoirians fleeing the violence.
Afterward, Sheth continued her international humanitarian work as a Program Associate for Africa Humanitarian and Health Media at Internews Network in Washington, D.C. Sheth says that without her Bryn Mawr education, she might not have had the courage to pursue her passions fully. “Bryn Mawr helped me find my voice,” she reflects. “I learned that if you feel strongly about wanting to do something or be somewhere, you just have to do it. Be bold.”