WSSS STUDENT: THOMAS POLS
Degree and Year of Graduation
M.A., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 2015
Fields of Study
Experience Before Tufts
Education Before Tufts
Why did you join WSSS?
While working in humanitarian disaster in Pakistan and South Sudan I was confronted extensively with the realities of water borne diseases and the devastation they caused amongst the populations. Addressing these health problems, however, went beyond just medicine. It also involves addressing the broader public health situation in which water is a key factor. For this you donít only need medical knowledge, but also knowledge and understanding of the water systems and the ways in which water is used by a society. In the WSSS program I get this knowledge, making me more capable to help design smart and feasible solutions to the health problems in humanitarian disasters.
What is your favorite WSSS course and why?
As part of the WSSS practicum I will go to Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem, the West Bank, where we will support the efforts of a local NGO. Being able to not just learn through theory, but also through practice in my experience has always been the most valuable way of learning. At the same time it is also a great opportunity to contribute to the work that is done in Palestine.
How has WSSS broadened your interdisciplinary understanding of water?
By linking elements of the understanding of water issues from different disciplines, a more complete and far more complex picture starts to emerge of what is needed to address water related problems. After this course I will never see a problem with water as just a medical problem, or an engineering challenge for that matter, but as a system of interlocking elements that all influence the outcome. When applying this knowledge to for example an outbreak of a water borne disease I can now identify
What are your plans after graduating from Tufts?
After graduating I hope to return to the field of humanitarian aid where I can apply my new skills in order to help provide lifesaving assistance to populations in need.