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Making an Impact Near and Far

After moving to Swaziland with his Christian missionary parents at age 10, Nathanael Rehmeyer (USA, Waterford Kamhlaba UWC, Skidmore ’18) grew up observing the struggles of people in a developing nation, plus his parents’ efforts to bring better health care to Swaziland’s poverty-struck Lowveldt. Add to that his UWC experience, and Nathanael came to college determined to do meaningful things.

He quickly trained as an emergency medical technician, and this year became deputy director of operations for the student-run Skidmore Emergency Medical Service. He also plunged into medical research, at a college lab that’s working to develop a test for malaria that uses urine instead of blood. That would make diagnosing the parasite quicker, cheaper, and easier — which would mean a lot in the Lowveldt, where climate change is creating the conditions for the malarial scourge to return.

“My dad is saying, ‘You need to find the test, so we can test people here,’” Nathanael says. “We’re working on making it stable in storage, so it can be sent places, put in a room, and taken out when needed.” A biology major and premed student, Nathanael works as a residential advisor to younger students and is a leader in the campus Christian Fellowship.

“I would love to be a volunteer doctor in a developing country someday,” he says, “to help those who cannot help themselves because of poverty. I want to treat people who cannot afford insurance or have fallen through the cracks. I want to be a beneficial part of my community.” At Skidmore, he already is.