Few people discover their life’s calling during their junior year in college. But that’s what happened to Shital Chauhan.
Shital spent spring break 2003 in Honduras on a medical mission and says, “It changed my life completely.”
After a few more trips, she founded the Marquette Medical Brigade, a service project for students from Marquette and throughout the country. Shital and friends worked tirelessly to interest businesses, university clubs and other groups to expand on the project’s momentum, and Global Brigades was born.
Global Brigades is the largest student-led international development organization in the world, and it prides itself on empowering college students with the material and support to assess and deliver sustainable microenterprise solutions to impoverished villages.
Shital still directs the operation in addition to her full-time job as a physical therapist in Chicago.
Under her leadership, Global Brigades each year sends more than 1,500 volunteers from 60 university clubs to provide health, economic development, engineering and human rights solutions to 50,000 people in Central America, Ghana, India and Vietnam.
And Marquette continues to play an extremely significant role. Each year, the university sends more than 60 volunteers to Honduras, the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where they have provided care for more than 1,000 patients. In 2008, Marquette Business and Water Brigades helped build clean water solutions in villages where students were providing medical services.
For all of this, Shital thanks her alma mater.
“I found my way at Marquette,” she says.