When Staten Island-native Sarah Tress first arrived at MIT, she had never been outside of the United States. Now, almost four years later, she’s travelled across Asia, spending weeks at a time in India, Vietnam, and Indonesia. But the reason for all this travel hasn’t been sightseeing — she’s been working to reduce poverty, one person at a time.

Tress began her studies at MIT on a premed track. However, a MISTI internship at a hospital in a poor region of India in the summer after her first year made her feel there was a different application for her skills. Seeing homeless people living just outside the hospital’s gated entrance, and recognizing her privilege as an MIT student and a U.S. citizen, she shifted her goals.

“There are so many people trying to get so few med school spots, a lot of people would happily take my spot if I were to get in. But working to fight poverty is not nearly as popular of a career choice,” she says.

While those in the medical field may see more of an immediate impact to their work, Tress feels each individual effort to fight poverty makes a difference. Poverty may be a broad and international problem — but we have to start somewhere, she says.

Read more at MIT News