Maya Punjwani is the new Communications Associate for the Shot@Life campaign. Learn more about her in this Q&A!
Over the summer, I was a Global Health Communications intern at the United Nations Foundation. Although it was virtual, I had a fantastic experience. During my internship, I was able to meet the hardworking individuals on the Shot@Life team who are dedicated to ensuring lifesaving vaccinations for children around the world. My interests in global health and advocacy prompted me to continue to work at the UN Foundation with the Shot@Life campaign.
Working at the UN Foundation during the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me about the importance of public health communications. Now more than ever, people are interested in learning more about global health, particularly vaccination efforts. I am eager to help advance Shot@Life’s vaccine advocacy goals, especially during a time when many essential health services have been severely disrupted.
This past month, I worked as advance staff and coordinated events for the Biden for President campaign. Previously, I interned at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Correspondence and at the personal office of Barack and Michelle Obama in Washington, DC. I also interned for an anti-human trafficking nonprofit called No More Tears USA in my hometown, Miami, Florida. I advocated for victims by accompanying them to court hearings, helping them set up businesses, fundraising, and spearheading PR campaigns. At the University of Florida, I was a student fellow at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, where I took part in many civic engagement projects. I am excited to use the skills I have gained from these experiences to assist with communications at Shot@Life.
Misinformation, both locally and globally, is a large roadblock to vaccine advocacy. Therefore, sharing accurate scientific information and vaccination success stories with the public are extremely important to maintain and advance vaccine progress.
Anyone can be an advocate these days, especially with our increased connectivity and access to information through social media. If you are passionate about a certain issue, get creative with ways to raise awareness. Your decision to speak out about a subject can influence more people than you might think.
After graduating college this year, I started a podcast called Uncharted 20s. I also enjoy learning different languages: I speak Spanish and Urdu and am learning Arabic and French. I love music and concerts, and I have a massive sweet tooth.