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Public Health Program


Sophie Marts

Sophie Marts

Marts makes Global Health her priority

Senior Sophie Marts' REAL summer internship confirmed that Global Health is the career for her.

Senior Sophie Marts' REAL summer internship confirmed that Global Health is the career for her.

By Ally O'Connor '20

Pursuing her interest in the intersection of women’s health and governmental policymaking, Sophie Marts ’20 (Public Health Science) spent her summer as a REAL Marketing Assistant at Rose Academies. A Santa Clara nonprofit company, Rose Academies works with disadvantaged women and youth in Central and Eastern Africa to teach healthcare and vocational skills. Working directly with Susan Stasi, the CEO of Rose Academies, Marts learned about company partners in Uganda and utilized her talents in a variety of ways.

Throughout her time with the company, Marts got a broad look into the daily responsibilities of working at a nonprofit. “I like that every day is a different combination of attending meetings, hosting events, writing grants, sending out newsletters, updating social media, and refining our marketing materials to get our message across to potential donors and partners,” she shares. 

With many of her classes at SCU rooted in science and textbook knowledge, Marts enjoyed getting a “behind-the-scenes look at a real Non-Governmental Organization that’s doing important work in the field of public health.” The opportunity allowed her to utilize her knowledge, creativity, and writing skills in new ways through implementing marketing activities and conducting market research in order to reach a wider audience and grow as an organization.

Well prepared by her exposure to global health issues and Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) both while abroad in Khon Kaen, Thailand last fall and throughout her three years at Santa Clara University, Marts says she felt “equipped with the skills I need to be culturally competent in this line of work.”  She had already learned about CBPR principles in Public Health classes at SCU and was excited to “bring that knowledge to life” in her summer internship.

With the organizational goal of educating, empowering and creating a cycle of hope for generations of changemakers to come, Marts understands that collaboration is necessary to success. When contemplating the unique strengths and weaknesses of rural life in Central and Eastern Africa, she explains that “we have to go in with open eyes and ears to listen to what they need, instead of assuming we know best.  These collaborations are most effective & sustainable when we learn from each other and involve the local partners at every step of the process.” 

Marts shares that one of her biggest takeaways from her summer experience “is that I want to continue pursuing a career in global health. After graduating from SCU, I am hoping to get my master’s in public health to gain a deeper understanding of how to address health inequalities on a global scale.”

Working towards that goal, throughout her senior year Marts plans to bring this passion back to Santa Clara University, where she will act as the Director of Education for Partners in Health. A newly formed Registered Student Organization on campus, Partners in Health works on issues related to global healthcare and education.  She says that she is “so thankful to the REAL Program for connecting me with this great opportunity to pursue my interests and gain valuable experience making a difference in the field of global health” and has made it a goal to someday travel to Uganda to experience Rose Academies’ programs firsthand. 

About the REAL Program

The College of Arts and Sciences developed the REAL Program to allow students to discover their interests, gain a rich understanding of a particular field, discern their career goals, and explore future employment fields. We believe financial means should not determine whether or not a student can participate in internships, research, projects or creative works opportunities. Committed to providing paid experiential learning opportunities for students, the REAL Program provides stipends up to $5,000 for undergraduate opportunities lasting up to 10 weeks over the summer. Since inception, the program has distributed nearly $1.3 million to more than 300 students.

For more information about the REAL Program, email

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Valeriote Goldman Symposium: Public Health & Social Justice