Our “Supporter Spotlight” series continues with a discussion with Sarah Mayer, a student at the University of Iowa who works closely with the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign.
Sarah, who will graduate this month, has worked closely with Shot@Life since the fall of 2014 to help protect children from preventable diseases by expanding access to life-saving vaccines.
Question: What motivates you to work with Shot@Life?
Sarah Mayer: I’ve always wanted to make an impact in the field of global health, but I often felt like, as a single person, and especially a college student, there were so many huge issues to be solved, and I didn’t know where to start. Learning about how childhood immunization can have such a huge ripple effect for a child, a family, and the whole community motivated me to focus my attention there. Shot@Life’s cause is specific, but has such a great impact.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment with Shot@Life?
SM: My biggest accomplishment is sharing the success of winning two Shot@Life campus challenges with 40 amazing members of the ImmUNITY Campaign at Iowa. Our group basically started from the ground this fall, and it’s been amazing to see how much our members have been able to accomplish this year, as well as how passionate they’ve become about global immunization!
Q: What have you learned from your involvement with Shot@Life?
SM: I’ve learned so much about the importance of global childhood immunization, but the most surprising thing I learned was what a huge impact we can make with advocacy with our members of Congress. When I learned how much money the U.S. is able to appropriate in foreign aid to groups like UNICEF and GAVI, I finally understood how important those meetings with our congressional representatives are!
Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
SM: Whatever you’re doing, take ownership of it. No matter how big or small the task is, it is yours; give it your all.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a difference in the world?
SM: Find some small way to make a difference, learn a lot about it, and you’ll start to care a lot about it. From there, there’s so much potential for that passion to grow in places you wouldn’t have imagined! A year ago, I never would have imagined being so involved in spreading the word about Shot@Life on my campus, going to the Champion Summit in D.C., and even traveling to the Philippines for the Learning Trip – but I’m so glad that my involvement has taken me to these places!
Q: In one sentence, what kind of world do you want to see in 2030?
SM: I want to see a world where every kid has a shot at a happy and healthy childhood!