Dr. Marita Eibl first became enamoured by the discipline when she did a sixth grade report on East African Anthropology. As an undergraduate at University of Notre Dame, she was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to learn about all four fields of Anthropology. During this time, she was able to conduct research in East Africa, which shaped her interests and led her to MSU, where she planned to focus on medical anthropology in Africa. Her dissertation research examined the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Tanzania. Dr. Eibl explored how the different participants in the program viewed their roles within the broader PEPFAR operation and how local women chose to access HIV/AIDS medications through the program.
After graduating from MSU, Dr. Eibl was selected to be a fellow in the Presidential Management Fellowship (www.PMF.gov) program, an opportunity she recommends to current graduate students interested in pursuing non-academic work. The PMF provides recent graduates with a job within an agency in the federal government with perks including an accelerated promotion track, eighty hours of training every year, and the ability to try out different jobs within the federal government. As a participant in this program, Dr. Eibl took a position at Health and Human Services for the first year and then moved to a position within the State Department. Her time as a PMF fellow provided her with a wide range of fieldwork and experience. The program has also enabled her to build a large network of contacts.
Following this experience, Dr. Eibl was hired by the State Department to work for the PEPFAR program, which she had examined in her dissertation research. This job has provided Dr. Eibl the opportunity to travel around the world to work with representatives of African governments, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. She has also worked with HIV clinics and outreach programs.
Dr. Eibl truly appreciated the experiences she had as a graduate student at MSU. These include the guidance provided by the connections she made within the MSU Center for Gender in Global Context, the African Studies Center, and the Center for Advanced Study of International Development (CASID), and her committee members and other professors in the department, including Dr. Anne Ferguson, Dr. Bill Derman, and Dr. Linda Hunt. She also values the feeling of community among the grad students and the support system they built to help one another advance through the program. For current graduate students, she offers this advice: “pick a subject that you will love for years, because to finish you must love it!”
This article is in the Department of Anthropology’s Spring 2015 Newsletter, see the entire newsletter here.05.04.15