Looking back on high school, Meg Farrell has no idea how she juggled such a challenging course-load with so many extracurricular activities – swimming, track, debate team, theater guild, National Honor Society, band, chorus – yet still found plenty of time for friends and family. To this day, she is most happy and productive when her schedule is fully loaded. Meg’s impressive career and accomplishments follow a similarly “action packed”
pattern that she established early on at NHS!
After graduating, Meg earned her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her Master of Public Health from the George Washington University.Meg credits her NHS teachers, particularly language teacher, George Morse, for instilling in her a genuine and lasting love of learning. “Both in my career and personal life, I have continued to seize opportunities to broaden my knowledge and skills, whether pursuing higher education, learning a new outdoor skill, completing professional development courses, or tackling a new foreign language.”
Over the past 10+ years Meg has built a career in public health and epidemiology. Since 2014, she has worked as a Technical Officer for Polio Eradication at UNICEF, supporting development and implementation of strategy aimed at increasing population immunity; interrupting disease transmission; and responding to outbreaks. In this role she coordinated all of UNICEF’s activities surrounding the recent worldwide introduction of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) and transition of the type of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV); these were two pivotal steps toward the ultimate goal of
global polio eradication.
Before joining UNICEF, Meg worked at a U.S. Naval medical research unit in Cairo, Egypt. In this role, she coordinated numerous infectious disease research and surveillance projects in Central Asia and the Caucasus; oversaw a public health capacity building program in Iraq; developed and executed several international public health training workshops; and participated in an H1N1 outbreak investigation on a U.S. Army base in Kuwait.
Prior to her public health career, Meg served nine years in the U.S. Navy as a helicopter pilot. During this time she qualified as an aircraft commander and flight instructor, and completed two six-month deployments to the Arabian Gulf. One of Meg’s proudest achievements is completing Naval Aviation training. “Flight school was an incredibly diverse and intense experience physically, academically and mentally. These were hands down the
most challenging years of my life. There were many points during training when I was rightfully worried that I didn’t have what it took to be a Naval pilot. Earning my wings was an incredible boost in confidence, and the experience afforded me unique technical and mental skills that not only allowed me to tackle the challenges of naval aviation, but continue to serve me well in my post-Navy career and life.”
The advice that Meg has for students is, “when it comes to selecting a college and exploring a career, keep an open mind! You may think you already know what you want to do with your life (and that may prove true), but don’t let that perception blind you to opportunities for alternative experiences.”
During and since college, Meg has volunteered in a variety of roles related to HIV/AIDS including serving as an HIV test counsellor; working on a hotline; and completing the AIDS Marathon through which she raised more than $5,000 for the Whitman Walker Health Center in Washington, DC.
Meg lives in Brooklyn, NY. Her passions include globe-trotting, foreign language, environmentalism, and the great outdoors.