Class of 2024 Spotlight: Emily Hallock BSE’24

Building bridges between engineering and global health

Emily Hallock at Trent Hall

By Alicia Banks

Published April 29, 2024, last updated on May 1, 2024 under Student Stories

Emily Hallock is from Sag Harbor, New York, and is graduating with majors in civil engineering and global health and a certificate in global development engineering. At Duke, she was a member of the Duke Engineers for International Development and served as a project manager for the design of a community hospital in Miwani, Kenya. She was a resident assistant on campus for three years.

Experiential learning has played such a key role in allowing me to explore my interests and better understand the interdisciplinary [nature] of the work that I am a part of on campus.

After graduation… I’ll be working in La Paz, Bolivia with Engineers in Action, an NGO whose mission is to support the development of sustainable systems and infrastructure with underserved communities, local expertise and global partners. My work will be on the design and implementation of water, sanitation, and hygiene projects in rural and peri-urban parts of the country.

I have worked with Engineers in Action during the past three years as a member of the Duke University student-chapter. I could not be more excited for the opportunity to continue working with the organization post-graduation!

My most meaningful experience at Duke has been… My DukeEngage project in Eswatini with the NGO Engineers in Action, Microprojects to construct a 400 feet suspended pedestrian bridge across the Ngwempisi River. The bridge now provides safe, year-round access to the local secondary school, hospital, and economic center for nearly 1,550 community members.

The project was especially meaningful because this bridge was the first piece of infrastructure I designed that was constructed. I spent four months during my junior year designing the bridge under the direction of professional engineers.

To see a design, I poured so much time and effort into come to life is an indescribable feeling. I will forever cherish the relationships I made during this project and for the impact that this project had on my life.

While at Duke… I’ve had opportunity to find passions at the intersection of infrastructure and health through opportunities supported by the university such as my time with Bass Connections and DGHI’s Deputy Director Wendy Prudhomme O’Meara, Ph.D., which examined the link between the construction of irrigation canals and an increase in malaria cases in Turkana, Kenya. Experiential learning has played such a key role in allowing me to explore my interests and better understand the interdisciplinary [nature] of the work that I am a part of on campus.

In the future… I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in global health, examining the use of rural transportation infrastructure as an intervention to close the access gap for critical global health challenges such as HIV treatment. I hope to work in international development and be in a space that gives me a platform to advocate for foreign aid investments into rural transportation infrastructure.

My advice for Duke students… Take advantage of the non-traditional summer experiences Duke offers. It can be easy to get caught up in the search for the perfect internship to set you up with a return offer for after graduation, but the lessons you learn from field work and experiential activities are invaluable. They can’t necessarily be taught within the traditional internship experience. You have the rest of your life to work. Take advantage of the opportunities Duke offers to travel and learn from global communities.