Ariadne Nichol

Ariadne Nichol
Doctors Without Borders

This summer I had an amazing time interning in Brussels, Belgium, pursuing extremely rewarding work in the form of a self-directed qualitative research study for Doctors Without Borders at their headquarters. This has allowed me to fulfill a life-long dream of getting to work with Doctors Without Borders in the central city of Europe, rich with a strong sense of cultural history and fantastic waffles!

I conducted a qualitative study in the form of 15 semi-structured interviews of healthcare workers who were involved in the 2013-2016 Ebola Virus outbreak, as a part of furthering MSF's on-going work on developing a set of ethical guidelines for future emerging infectious disease outbreak responses. I tackled an ambitious timeline on conducting an independent qualitative research analysis in the form of semi-structured interviews, in the hopes of elucidating main ethical challenges involved in allocation of limited resources from different health care workers’ perspectives at relevant organizations (MSF, WHO, London Institute of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene). In pursuit of devising a rigorous study design, I had to identify, collate, and draw insights upon past literature on the related topic in order to then develop a strong methodology for data collection. After careful selection a semi-structured interview process, seeking to maintain flexibility within the interviews while maintaining consistency in the types of data collected, I successfully launched 15 interviews of health care workers from a variety of backgrounds. I then had to carefully analyze the content in order to elucidate the interwoven themes connecting the diverse perspectives together. This challenge taught me how to think critically and synthesize information into a deliverable, holistic picture, and it will undoubtedly serve a career in social change, where a grasp of the complex interrelation of global forces is critical. 

One of the most rewarding activities outside of work was getting to meet four different Stanford alumni during my time in Belgium, I feel as if I now have a sense of how strong the Stanford connection is, beyond just the Bay area. Stanford is a source to draw upon throughout our lives and in every place we roam, even across the Atlantic ocean.

I got to explore different parts of Belgium on the weekends, including Ghent, Antwerp, and Bruges, all of which I found to be culturally-enlightening experiences. Getting to know the people and realizing how friendly the Belgian people are made me feel really at home within the country by the end of my internship.