Alumni Profile: Emily Lyles, B.A. ’10, M.P.A. ’12
Emily Lyles, B.A. ’10, M.P.A. ’12, says she’s not one to try to guess what she might be doing in a decade’s time. “If I had done that five years ago, I never would have dreamed of what I’m doing right now,” she says.
At that time, she was immersed in an undergraduate education in English; now, after having earned a Master of Public Administration, she’s working on a second UB master’s degree in global affairs and human security—and in June, she finished a highly prestigious and competitive internship at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Her internship project focused on analyzing mental-health medication logistics in emergency situations, specifically examining the extent to which certain psychotropics (mental health drugs) are reaching the field in emergencies. These kits are requested by “operators”—nongovernmental organizations, U.N. agency divisions like the WHO or pharmaceutical corporations providing health-related humanitarian assistance around the world—and are intended to meet primary medical needs in the earliest phase of a humanitarian disaster, before specific requirements have been identified.
“Essentially, I did things as an intern that are what I hope to do as a career once I finish my education.”
“My work in the M.P.A. at UB instilled a passion for program monitoring and evaluation,” says Lyles, and in the M.A. in Global Affairs and Human Security program, she’s “learning things about the United Nations and the European Union that I never knew.”
Her interest in pharmaceuticals developed through her father, Alan Lyles, professor in the College of Public Affairs who specializes in pharmaceutical economics, and came into play last fall, when she served as an intern with Management Sciences for Health (an international organization in Arlington, Va.).
At the WHO, Lyles worked with those who managed various tasks for the organization’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse and finished her internship with a final report.
“Essentially, I did things as an intern that are what I hope to do as a career once I finish my education,” she says, elaborating that she’d be interested in serving as a monitoring and evaluation officer with the Red Cross or any other nongovernmental organization, ensuring data is collected appropriately and then aggregating the information to assess whether or not efforts are effective. “The WHO is the highest level at which I can work in this field based on my interests. It really was a dream come true.”