Meet the 2021 Summer Internship Cohort: Sam Borton

This summer, the institute welcomed 35 students from leading academic institutions across the United States and Europe, to participate in our Technology and Global Health program which combines research and practice. Students spent the first two weeks of the program immersed in coursework and case studies that offered an introduction to the practicality of research, while deepening their understanding in the areas of public policy, health, economics, program design and evaluation, and science communications. The remaining time in the program is spent on research topics aligned with that of the institute. Get to know some of our students here:



Name: Sam Borton

School: Southern Methodist University

Major(s): Economics; Statistical Science; Markets & Culture

Hometown: Naperville, IL


Tell us, how did you come to be here? What drew you to this program?


I heard about the Institute through my research mentor Dr. Eva Csaky at SMU. As someone with an interest in sustainable economic development, I was drawn to the program because I wanted to better understand the relationship between public health and development, and I wanted to practice using the lens of public health and technology to evaluate societal problems.


What has stood out to you most since you started and has there been any surprises?


First, I have become very optimistic about the future of public health after working with the brilliant, motivated team at the Institute. Also, as someone without much experience studying public health, I have been confronted with the way it is deeply intertwined with economics, ethics, biology, public policy, and so many other fields, and as a result, public health solutions require a very interdisciplinary team sitting around the table.


Can you share a bit about the project that you are working on in the program?


My team and I have been exploring sanitation policy and implementation, especially related to informal settlements in Durban, South Africa. One of our research projects centers around the vestiges of history seen in today’s sanitation conditions, especially pertaining to cases of institutional segregation such as Apartheid. Another project involves examining the landscape of solutions related to the issue of water that is lost or unaccounted for between the distributor and end-user, known as non-revenue water.


What do you plan to do with your precious life?


I strongly believe that every person on earth was created with dignity, and therefore they deserve a quality standard of living. I plan to advance this cause with a career in economic development, understanding that the best solutions are those that work at the intersection of people, environment, and economy.