Shaina Mackin

Program Assistant at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia


Class of 2015, Political Science – International Affairs major

Mackin currently works as a program assistant in the Global Health Division at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Come January 2017, however, she will be moving to Malaysia to teach English on a 10-month Fulbright Grant through the U.S. Department of State.

How does your time at SPU connect to what you’re doing today?

During my time at SPU, I learned to think rationally in order to identify problems and reach effective solutions, but also to not ignore the people I encountered along the way to these solutions. The Foundation is motivated by the belief that all lives have equal value. The Fulbright program works to promote mutual understanding. At the core of all three institutions, I see the critical crossroads of logic and empathy.

Which SPU faculty or staff member made a difference in your education?

During my time as an RA in Ashton Hall, Residence Life coordinators Davinah Simmons and Nathan Mabie challenged and encouraged me far beyond the undergraduate classroom. They helped me identify my strengths and improve upon my weaknesses and continue to remain active role models in my life.

What advice would you give to current SPU students?

As Dr. Reed Davis would say, the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. When you graduate, prepare to feel very, very small. Regardless, explore your interests fearlessly, even if — no, especially if — they surprise the people around you.