Mikayla Curtis is one of two summer Grassroots Advocacy Interns and a longtime Shot@Life champion. Mikayla supports the day-to-day functions of our grassroots team and our network of advocates.
Learn more about her in this Q&A!
What drew you to Shot@Life and the UN Foundation?
It has been a long-term dream of mine to work for the UN at some capacity, so I was immediately interested in working for an organization that helps the UN achieve its goals. I am also very passionate about global health activism and promoting health access, so working for Shot@Life was a perfect fit!
Where are you from, where are you in school, and what are you studying?
Currently, I live with my family in Louisville, Kentucky and I just finished my sophomore year at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. At Duke, I study Public Policy, Psychology, and Global Health.
Can you briefly describe your previous work, intern, or volunteer experiences?
In my two-years at Duke, I have been heavily involved in global health activism through the grassroots organization Partners in Health Engage. I am the activism lead for our chapter, which means that I am responsible for establishing our relationships with members of congress and coordinating things like LTE submissions. At Duke, I am also very involved in mental health activism and education through working as a research assistant in psychology labs, where I study treatment programs for eating disorders and anxiety.
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 work on expanding the campaign and strengthening our activism network. I really see a lot of potential for growth as people are becoming more aware of global health and vaccination issues, and I would really like to build on this interest and get more people involved. I believe that everyone can be an effective advocate, and I hope to provide people with the skills they need to become one.
What do you think the biggest challenge is for vaccine advocacy?
It can be difficult to make activism accessible, particularly in healthcare. Health policy is often very confusing, and it can be intimidating for people just starting! I believe that moving forward we need to make information about vaccinations easier to understand and work to prevent the spread of misinformation so we can involve more people in our advocacy work.
Do you have any fun facts that our champions may not know about you?
I am a huge movie fan—right now I’m working on watching every movie that has won best picture (halfway there!).