Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Michelle Mariko Kagei graduated magna cum laude from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where she majored in anthropology & human biology with a minor in global health, culture, & society. As an undergraduate, Michelle was a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority, ran on the Emory varsity cross country and track & Field teams, studied public health in New Delhi, India, and participated in clinical, laboratory, and humanities research. After serving with Impact America, Michelle hopes to pursue an MD/MPH, focusing on underserved communities.  

What is your favorite quote from a book, film, or song?

“Human rights violations are not accidents; they are not random in distribution or effect. Rights violations are, rather, symptoms of deeper pathologies of power and are linked intimately to the social conditions that so often determine who will suffer abuse and who will be shielded from harm”. –Dr. Paul Farmer (Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor)

Name and describe a memorable place you’ve been:

One of the most memorable places I’ve been is Fateh Sagar Lake in Udaipur, India. When I was completing my thesis fieldwork in the summer of 2016, I ran and walked around the lake as a respite from the busy city of Udaipur. Aside from observing the lake’s natural beauty, I also enjoyed observing culture and human connections/relationships on my runs. Little did I know, the lake serves as an important place for events and meetings. From time to time, I observed people celebrating a religious holiday/festival or meeting with friends and family. I value this experience because it was an incredible and unexpected way of learning more about the city and people of Udaipur. As an added bonus, every so often, I would run into a friendly elephant or camel.