The Big Picture

One Student’s Odyssey

One Student’s Odyssey

Alexia Bililies

 

Bililies is unusually prepared for the challenges of the path she’s chosen. She grew up traveling the world with her parents, who ran Alternative Leisure Co., a nonprofit service organization for disabled children and adults. And she learned the depth of her own compassion through her volunteer work and professional activities.

While pursuing a double major in international studies and Hispanic studies at WPI, Bililies has been a group leader for Alternative Leisure, an assistant to a social worker and a Spanish interpreter at Lutheran Social Services Adoption in Worcester, and a grant writer at Friendly House in Worcester. She was also a health care disparities research and policy development intern for the Massachusetts Public Health Association, a special events and outreach intern at the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, and a psychology intern at the Bureau of Prisons Federal Medical Center in Ayer, Mass.

Bililies also undertook projects aimed at preparing her for international humanitarian work. For her IQP, she went to Namibia to work with the Namibian Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS to develop innovative prevention strategies that could be implemented by the private business sector. She developed her own MQP in Santiago, Dominican Republic, working with Caritas, a Catholic nonprofit that empowers women to establish rural pharmacies to provide affordable drugs to the poor.

Bililies, who graduated three terms early, is now preparing for the next phase of her journey. She has been accepted into a master’s program in disaster management at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and will attend with the support of a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. She hopes to one day work with the Red Cross or United Nations, organizing disaster relief services to help those in need. Bililies is certain her WPI education and its emphasis on project-based problem solving will help her get there.

"I’m a big advocate for practicing what you’re learning," she says, "and I think that’s what has kept me motivated these four years."

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