IID Graduate, Mike Henry, Awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program Scholarship

Posted: May 2, 2013

Mike Henry, a Shreyer Scholar and recent IID graduate, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship. He will be working in Africa for the next year as a Fulbrighter prior to attending medical school at Columbia.
Mike Henry, in blue, worked with Honduran children to teach them about the water cycle and water conservation during Spring Break 2012.

Mike Henry, in blue, worked with Honduran children to teach them about the water cycle and water conservation during Spring Break 2012.

Mike Henry, a Shreyer Scholar and Spring 2013 graduate, was recently awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship to study parasitic worms in Africa. He is graduating with a major in Immunology and Infectious Disease from the College of Agriculture and a minor in Global Health from the College of Health and Human Development.

Mike’s path leading to this Fulbright opportunity was a rich one. After a freshman-year trip to Honduras illuminating the residents' lack of clean water and their resulting health problems, Mike and his friend, Anthony Ricco, co-founded the Penn State Chapter of Global Water Brigades. This new chapter was part of a national, student-led Global Brigades organization that partners with communities to “improve quality of life in under-resourced regions while respecting local culture.”

Since then, Mike has been instrumental in raising funds and awareness for this initiative to help bring clean water systems and clean water education to remote regions throughout the world. In 2011, he led 15 students on the Brigades’ first service trip to help create a local water purification system in Honduras. Today, more than 80 students take these types of service trips with Global Water Brigades during their school breaks.

Mike spent this past year - his senior year - at Penn State as the Campus Chair of all Penn State Brigades' chapters (Architecture, Business, Environmental, Human Rights, Medical, Public Health, and Water Brigades) and traveled to Ghana with Water Brigades over winter break. In Ghana, the Brigades focused on constructing rainwater harvesting systems, thereby providing a safe source for healthy drinking water, and then training the community to maintain the system and practice good hygiene.

Being awarded the Fulbright Scholarship will allow Mike to travel back to Africa to study parasitic worms. The experiment will examine patients infected with both the worms and HIV to see how the worms affect the disease progression of HIV/AIDS.

When he completes his year of service, he will enter medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons where he received a deferral to take advantage of the Fulbright.

In the future, Mike hopes to use his skills and training to improve lives in the global and urban health arenas by working for an institution such as the World Health Organization or USAID. For more information on Mike’s previous work, go to, "Digging Deep: Penn State student group travels abroad to bring fresh water to needy communities."

For more information on Penn State's Global Brigades chapters, please contact the current chair at



Contact Information

Kristin Cox,