Eva Archer calls Chapel Hill home. In the past, she’s called Canada, the Bahamas, Cambodia and Rwanda home as well.
Eva, a senior joint global studies and chemistry major and Morehead-Cain scholar, has lived across the globe. Growing up in the Bahamas, Canada and Chapel Hill, Eva had a unique knowledge of and interest in different societies from a young age. This, combined with her desire to affect change, propelled Eva into the field of global health while at UNC Chapel Hill.
Carolina was the obvious choice for Eva from the moment she toured the campus. While she’d lived in Chapel Hill for many years before college—her mother is an epidemiologist and her father is a research scientist in the area—her first experience of what it meant to be a Carolina student came when she visited the pit. When Eva saw all the activities taking place, she knew she’d found the right college.
“I chose to come to Chapel Hill because the student body was so involved,” Eva said.
Indeed, Eva has been incredibly busy at UNC. Through the Campus Y, she tutors housekeeping and maintenance staff aiming to take their GED. She has also been a teaching assistant for INTS 393, Great Decisions, an entirely student-run class that brings a host of high level speakers to campus to give lectures on a range of topics on foreign affairs. This year, she is co-chair of the course, which she said should be a lot of fun for participants. “This year’s committee is a great group,” she said.
Her peers are in fact some of her greatest inspirations. She constantly calls close friend Emma Din, who received a Fulbright recently, to discuss her plans and projects. “Everyone’s very encouraging,” Eva said. “The campus is participatory. If you see a group walking somewhere, they’ll tell you to come with [them].
But it’s not only the student body that Eva has found tackling exciting projects. Through her Morehead-Cain scholarship, she was able to tap into and collaborate with one of Carolina’s most valuable resources: the alumni.
Eva’s first summer was spent working in Rwanda in a rural hospital run by a married couple who’d attended UNC. Her work focused on HIV-AIDS related projects. She had the opportunity while abroad to shadow healthcare workers, educate locals, and, perhaps most importantly of all, see how foreign aid can work on the ground.
During her second summer, Eva, who is fluent in French, studied food culture in Morocco and France. She’d been inspired to undertake this research after enrolling in the popular class EATS 101. Her research project for this honors seminar concentrated on assimilation through food in France. In particular, she examined how racism against Arabs works in the region, where food products from the culture are not only widely available and accepted in groceries, but adored by the native population.
Inspired by her experiences in these disparate fields, Eva began to search for the intersection between food, public health and public policy. She discovered an opportunity to develop all of these interests during the year she took off from college. Eva worked in a biochemistry lab in France for four months. The experience, in addition to her work here at UNC with Dr. Kevin Weeks, professor Chemistry at UNC, helped her realize her passion for global health biomedical research. Eva also worked that year for five months for a Cambodian NGO on agricultural development. During her time abroad with the organization, she delved into the topic for the senior honors thesis she would write this year.
Eva’s thesis tackles what works and is effective in Cambodian agricultural development. She found that the World Bank policies of the 1960s and 1970s had not helped the country. Rather, a focus on local, sustainable, long term projects produced results. Her work seeks to answer the question on how organizations can best help others through aid.
Eva credits much of the success she had with developing her thesis concept to Global Studies lecturer Michal Osterweil. Eva took Dr. Osterweil’s major’s only section of INTS 210, the gateway Global Studies class. “She introduced me to a lot of new perspectives,” Eva said. Thanks to Dr. Osterweil and the Global Issues class, Eva had a new framework and language with which to approach and analyze all that she’d experienced.
“Eva Archer is just one of those students who is an absolute pleasure to work with because she is not only incredibly motivated but is also extremely thoughtful and responsive. She is well-rounded as well. She consistently impressed me with her span of knowledge,” Dr. Osterweil said.
With such amazing experiences from her time at Chapel Hill, it’s not surprising that Eva is already feeling the pressure of graduation. “I don’t want to leave,” she said. “But I’m excited by what’s next.”
And what’s next is a mystery. Eva has considered applying to graduate school in the public health or biochemistry field. She’s also interested in taking the foreign service exam. Whatever she decides to do, she will soon be traveling again.
But Eva will definitely be returning regularly. Her older sister is at UNC doing her masters in Franco-Arab studies. Her younger sister is in her first year at UNC. Her younger brother is a junior in high school and thinking of attending UNC as well. The family has Carolina blue running in their blood. So no matter where she lives, Chapel Hill will always be home for Eva .