Ewo Harrell '10 studied political science and Chinese at Union College before earning a Master of Public Health degree from Brown University, where she was a Global Health Scholar focused on global health policy. Today she is a manager of the Partnership for Healthy Cities at Vital Strategies, an international NGO. Ewo oversees the participation and implementation of public health interventions and COVID-19 expansion in twelve cities around the world. She is actively involved with the National Kidney Foundation, the Lupus Foundation of America and the American Public Health Association. Prior to joining the Partnership for Healthy Cities, Ewo worked in the office of Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), where she led health initiatives and served on the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Scholarship Panel.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your career or volunteer activities?
The most rewarding aspect of my career is that I work to serve others. I have had the privilege to work in service to the public and for the greater good for the federal government, nonprofits and non-governmental organizations – primarily to ensure individuals are guaranteed health as a human right.
Who inspired/inspires you, both professionally and personally?
My parents. At a young age, they taught me “to never look down on someone unless you’re bending over to pick them up.” This lesson built the foundation of who I am both professionally and personally, and inspired me to lead a life in service to others.
What advice would you offer today’s women students, not just at Union, but across the country?
Being flexible, being able to shift from your plan is a key part to being successful. This ability will allow you to build resilience early on. Life will not always go as you plan, but being able to move forward despite difficulties or disappointments will allow new opportunities to come your way.
What was your most formative experience at Union?
At Union I participated in a term abroad in Shanghai, China; a D.C. term where I interned at an international NGO; and the inaugural Civil Rights mini-term. I also designed an independent study abroad program in Beijing and Guangzhou, China, where I did research on Sino-African relations for my senior thesis. Exploring and experiencing the world allowed me not only to see my coursework come to life, but also to expand my view of history, culture, community and what it means to be a global citizen. I truly believe I would not have had these opportunities at any other school, or without the support of Union professors, staff and alumni – including Donald Harrell ’75 (my dad), Gretchel Hathaway, Dr. Estelle Cooke-Sampson ’74, professors Megan Ferry, Diedre Hill-Butler, Robert Hislope, Melinda Lawson, Tom Lobe, Lori Marso and Zhang Zhen.