Graduate Studies

Students travel to Dominican Republic with support from GSPDF

View of vast forests

The Graduate Student Professional Development Fund (GSPDF) was created to provide financial support for graduate students pursuing professional development opportunities beyond the classroom. Over winter break, a group of Nursing, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Public Health students traveled to the Dominican Republic with non-profit Partners for Rural Health to provide health care services to local villages. Final year Public Health student, Laurel Lindberg was one of the students who received financial support from the Graduate Student Professional Development Fund for this trip. Learn more about her experience and how to apply for up to $1000 for your own professional development opportunity.

Students volunteering at the hospital

As an MPH student, I spent two weeks conducting community health needs assessments in rural villages and learning about the Dominican health system. This was especially interesting for me because I am interested in global health and plan to work internationally once I graduate. Some highlights from the trip include visiting a local health clinic, touring a public hospital in Puerto Plata, interacting with numerous village leaders and health promoters, enjoying the beautiful views on our walks to and from clinics, holding numerous babies, and of course, enjoying the beach on our day off from clinic.

This experience provided so much more than just learning and knowledge. It gifted me new friends, a better appreciation for what I have at home, and insight into who I am and what I am truly interested in. It allowed me to practice what I have learned in the classroom and apply those skills to “real-world” global health issues. It was evident through the kindness, generosity, and thanks we received from those we served that our presence and the skills we brought were greatly appreciated.

This was such a unique and rewarding experience that would not have been possible without the support I received from the Office of Graduate Studies and the Muskie School of Public Service. I am so grateful for their support and the opportunity to have participated in such an enriching and informative global health experience that I will always remember. I highly recommend this trip to all USM students and anyone looking to volunteer internationally – you will thoroughly enjoy it!


If you are interested in pursuing your own professional development activity and would like to find out more about the Graduate Student Professional Development Fund, please find more information on our website.