Shreyans Kothari is the grassroots advocacy intern for Shot@Life and started working with the campaign this January. In his role, Shrey helps support our grassroots advocacy team and our nationwide network of champion advocates.
Learn more about him in this Q&A!
What drew you to Shot@Life and the UN Foundation?
I hoped to gain some experience working on a global health campaign and in grassroots advocacy as I get ready to go to graduate school this coming Fall to study Public Policy. The United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign is the best place to help me prepare for a career in international development. The Grassroots Advocacy position requires me to put on multiple hats, allowing me to gain a wider perspective of the field.
Where are you from, where are you in school, and what are you studying?
I am from a small town in North-West India called Jaipur. I have lived in Jaipur all my life until I moved to Boston, MA for my undergraduate degree at Boston University (Go Terriers!). At BU, I majored in Economics and International Relations, and minored in Business Administration. I graduated from Boston University in May of 2019. I will be starting a Master of Public Policy program at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy this coming Fall.
Can you briefly describe your previous work, intern, or volunteer experiences?
In my last two years at Boston University, I worked as a Research Assistant on a randomized controlled trial on women’s sexual and reproductive health, and family planning services in rural India. The summer before my senior year, I created a startup -Taggd, an online platform for nonprofit organizations to collaborate on campaigns and to share resources. I got a chance to participate in an incubator in Boston to work on this venture. Right after graduation, I started working at Save the Children US on their Innovation team, where I helped manage the innovation accelerator.
What excites you most about being part of the Shot@Life campaign and what are you most looking forward to this semester?
I am excited to be a part of the Shot@Life team! Even after just three days of working here, I am already aware of the great degree of passion everyone brings to their work. I can’t wait to learn from everyone’s wide range of experiences and expertise in the field. I am really looking forward to the upcoming summit in February where I’ll get to meet some of the Shot@Life champions who continuously work hard to advocate for vaccines.
What do you think the biggest challenge is for vaccine advocacy?
The biggest challenge, according to me, is the size of the problem we face. About 360,000 babies are born globally every day. Out of these 360,000 babies, more than 50% are born in areas where basic healthcare amenities are inaccessible. 1 in 5 children all over the world does not have access to vaccines due to a multitude of reasons. But I believe in the efficacy of organizations, like the UNF, working all over the world to fulfill the UN 2030 Sustainability Development Goal of ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age. The challenge we face is enormous, but our combined efforts can make a difference.
Do you have any fun facts that our champions may not know about you?
I love long-distance running! I ran a couple of 5Ks and 10Ks throughout my four years of undergrad. I ran my first half-marathon last year and I am planning to start training again for the Boston half-marathon happening in October. Eventually, I hope to run a full marathon (preferably before I turn 30)!