“A Biotech degree from IIT will prepare students to contribute to the booming Biotech industry of India” – this was the general opinion held in early 2000-s about the prospects of Biotechnology as a career. Yet, many Biotech students who want to work in industry find that the good jobs in India are in the IT (Information Technology) industry. Those who like Biotechnology and want to work on it further usually end up going abroad for further studies – and get inducted into the thriving biotech research arena in US and Europe.
Between these 2 groups of people (Biotech turned Infotech, and US-based researchers) – there is a rare group of people who carve out a niche for themselves. Debjeet Sen belongs to that niche. After his Bachelors in Biotechnology at IIT, he completed a Masters degree in Biotechnology from Cornell. And then he did something completely different – a degree in Public Affairs from Syracuse University. (This progression of degrees might not be very unusual in USA, but such a career move is still uncommon in India, or Debjeet is definitely among the first in this breed). Debjeet’s work now involves designing and supporting projects that affect health policy in the poorest nations of Africa. His interests lie in maternal and child health, and he works on projects that help save many pregnant mothers in rural regions of Africa from dying during childbirth.
I am an enthusiastic and passionate international public health professional, specifically interested in maternal and child health. In my current position with PATH, I serve as the Program Assistant on the USAID-funded Infant & Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) Project, where I provide overall technical, programmatic, and administrative support to the project. I also backstop IYCN Project activities in Nigeria and a UNICEF-funded project in Namibia, and provide technical and administrative support for the development of proposals. Additionally, I co-lead a project to develop a low-cost test for diagnosing subclinical mastitis in breastfeeding HIV-positive women, and provide technical assistance to PATH’s Technical Solutions global program for identifying and evaluating maternal health technologies. Prior to joining PATH, I was at the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, where I coordinated Stories of Mothers Saved—an acclaimed advocacy project that highlighted interventions at the family, community, and government level, which prevented mothers and their babies from dying during pregnancy and childbirth. I have master’s degrees in biochemistry, public administration/international development, and international relations, and am a certified conflict resolution expert. I am fluent in English, Bengali, Hindi, and Urdu, and possess basic knowledge of French, Spanish, and German.