Dany Dia Mejia
Tell me a little about yourself?
I am originally from a small rural town in Honduras called Nueva Esperanza. Being curious is part of my nature, and my curiosity lead me to study and learn English on my own. As a result, I became a translator for the health brigades in Honduras. From my work with the health brigades, I was able to meet an individual who provided me the opportunity to attend one of the most prestigious high schools in Honduras. After I graduated from this school, I did my undergraduate degree at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Why did you decided to attend Heinz?
From the very beginning, the Heinz College community was extremely welcoming. My initial contact with the admissions office, Adrienne, during the application process showed me that Heinz was a very special place. The admissions staff reassured me that the faculty and staff would adequately prepare me to succeed here at Heinz and helped reduce my insecurities about my lack of quantitative exposure. Additionally, the financial support offered by Heinz College was a critical factor in my decision. As a PPIA Fellow, Heinz offered me the financial support to pursue my educational and professional endeavors. This type of support is invaluable and has opened doors for me.
Looking back at your first year, what are your thoughts?
Heinz has definitely provided me with the tools to make the changes I want to see in the world. Heinz not only teaches you to think about the problems that our world faces, but it also teaches you how to solve these problems in both quantitatively and qualitatively fashion. The solutions that are proposed for these problems also take into account how policy actions affect society and remind us, as policy makers, that we must take the appropriate steps to make the right decisions. This became even more evident to me as I completed my summer internship with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in South Africa. I was more than prepared to go above and beyond expectations and to help create effective solutions.
What are your favorite parts of Heinz College?
Heinz College really challenges the way you think of the world and how to solve its most pressing problems. While at Heinz I have met some of the most dedicated individuals. They will be great resources for the rest my professional career. Heinz is also extremely supportive in pursuing whatever opportunities you are interested in. A great example of this is the Internship Opportunity Fund (IOF), which helped me financially to pursue my internship with the UNDP. In addition, students are encouraged to take courses in other Carnegie Mellon graduate programs. I took advantage of this opportunity and took a course at the Human Computer Interaction Institute (HCII), which opened my eyes to the important role the learning sciences should play in education policy. Finally, Heinz pushes its students to strive to solve social problems and helps us to question the limitations of our methodologies so we can continually improve upon policy.