By Donna Parker
It’s a safe bet that your skill set is in great demand when the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plucks you from the National Institutes of Health to manage the HHS Haiti Health Facilities Working Group comprised of U.S. Federal Agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations, the Pan American Health Organization, foundations such as the Google Foundation, businesses, international faith-based organizations, and the Haitian Ministry of Health. At the helm is Alyson Rose-Wood, who received a double bachelor’s degree in political science and English from Trinity in 2003.
“This was in direct response to the Haiti earthquake,” explains Alyson. “The U.S. government formed a working group to develop a comprehensive list of health facilities in Haiti.”
Alyson says the first responders in Haiti identified the critical need to uncover the locations of health facilities in Haiti since there was no central database – rendering it nearly impossible to determine where to transport the sick and injured.
“My job was to provide strategic direction for the group,” says Alyson, “and for that, I credit Trinity for laying the groundwork of my leadership skills.”
While on campus, Alyson was the president of the Alpha Chi Lambda sorority and an outdoor recreation group leader, designing camping and rafting trips and later becoming a professional white water raft guide in Utah, Morocco, and Ethiopia.
As the child of U.S. diplomats, Alyson’s youth was spent in Africa and Central America before returning to Virginia to complete high school. It was the first time that she had lived in the United States.
“When I moved back to the East Coast, I longed to slow down,” says Alyson.
“Then came time to apply to colleges and I was simply overwhelmed. I told my dad I wanted to go out west where time moves slower, it’s not as competitive and it’s close to rivers for kayaking.”
“I found my home at Trinity and, for the first time in my life, lived in one place for four years. The school offered broad opportunities for me to study things from costume sewing to medieval literature. Then, as sorority president, I discovered an incredible group of supportive women who gave me the self-confidence to make decisions on my unconventional path.”
Professor Sussan Siavoshi, department of political science, took Alyson under her wing, and the two related very well.
“Professors such as Dr. Siavoshi were priceless. We both had our feet in another culture so she was able to help me on a very personal level.”
“Richard Reed, department of sociology and anthropology, supported my curiosity and arranged to fund a campus debate that I suggested, and Trish Simonite, department of art and art history, taught me professional photography skills.”
Now this well-traveled Trinity and Harvard School of Public Health grad spends time with her fiancé, Peter Hubbard, whom she met while both were members of the Peace Corps stationed in Morocco in remote villages 15 hours apart. Their courtship is the stuff of novels, as they communicated via telegrams and met once a month for romantic interludes in Marrakesh.
The couple will marry in September and recently bought a home outside Old Town Alexandria where they spend weekends cooking and kayaking.
Meanwhile, this self-described curious, adventurous soul sits on the board of the Foreign Service Youth Foundation helping children whose parents are affiliated with U.S. foreign affairs agencies and holds Trinity near to her heart.
“You know, Trinity gave me a good set of soft and hard skills that have been useful to me in every iteration of myself since I’ve entered the professional world.”
You may contact Alyson at Alyson.firstname.lastname@example.org.
After reading this story if you feel strongly about any Trinity alumni who the Alumni Office should profile in future AlumNet issues, please submit your suggestions. We are looking for suggestions in these four categories: 1) recent grads, 2) grads who innovate, 3) grads in business, and 4) grads who serve the world. Feel free to nominate yourself if you fall in these categories. -- AlumNet Moderator