A double-major in economics and biology, Jahnavi Prabhala bridges entrepreneurial thinking, research, and service to advance positive change. Ms. Prabhala is a senator in William & Mary’s Student Assembly and advocates for student health initiatives. As a Health Outreach Peer Educator, she works to promote flourishing across campus. Through a summer research fellowship with William & Mary’s Global Research Institute and international nonprofit iMMAP, Jahnavi conducted qualitative and quantitative analysis to understand the impacts of the Venezuelan migration crisis. Her experiences led her to advocate internationally for menstruation hygiene management. Jahnavi is the creator of the Student Rights Initiative at William & Mary, an organization of more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students. The initiative has created crisis de-escalation, bystander intervention, and rights education programming for residence life, student organizations, and new student orientation. A service-oriented researcher, she aims to become a doctor and public health advocate with the goal of improving the experiences of underserved communities.
My time in college crystallized my passions for reproductive rights and health care access within humanitarian settings. Through the W&M Global Research Institute Summer Fellows Program, I had the opportunity to work at iMMAP, an international NGO, where I collaborated with humanitarian partners to conduct research regarding the Venezuelan Migration Crisis in Bogotá, Colombia. While conducting humanitarian needs assessments with Venezuelan migrant women, I learned that basic resources like menstrual products and sanitation facilities were scarce. Realizing that Colombia’s humanitarian community lacked an adequate menstruation hygiene management (MHM) focus within their crisis response, I mobilized global and Latin American NGOs, sexual health scholars, and United Nations stakeholders to create a research-driven advocacy project that addressed core MHM gaps. In my local community, I am a Spanish medical interpreter and eligibility volunteer for undocumented patients at rural safety net clinics. On campus, I serve as an elected Student Assembly Senator and Health Outreach Peer Educator (HOPE) Mental Health specialist, leading initiatives regarding women’s health and student’s constitutional and campus rights. As an aspiring doctor and global health advocate, I ultimately hope to implement culturally-sensitive, data-driven health programs that benefit many individuals in disadvantaged communities—even ones I never treat as patients.