Dee Jordan is a University Enrichment Fellow and Doctoral Student in the department of Geography and Environmental Science and Policy Program. Dee initially applied to the Department of Geography at MSU because of the university’s close affiliation with the renowned Dr. John Hunter. Largely credited with defining the field of medical geography, Dr. Hunter helped delineate the use of geographical techniques and concepts to approach health-related problems on a grand scheme.
At MSU, Dee’s research uses ideas of spatial epidemiology and medical geography to investigate trypanosomiasis, or African Sleeping Sickness. Transmitted by the tsetse fly, trypanosomiasis is endemic only to Africa. Acute cases of the East and Central strains of trypanosomiasis are generally given a life expectancy of only six months. Dee’s work uses concepts of medical geography to investigate the optimal scale to control the transmission of the virus by the tsetse fly. Her work is multifaceted: it focuses on prevention, control, and surveillance of the trypanosomiasis virus at both local and global levels of government.
In addition to her coursework and research, Dee is also involved on the Council of Graduate Students (COGS) where she serves as the Vice President of External Affairs. When asked how she manages to balance her coursework and her extracurricular activities, Dee insists that when you “do what you really like to do, you find the time for it.” Indeed, Dee certainly finds the time for a lot. In addition to her formal roles, Dee also assumes the role of an advocate for the dismissed, the overlooked shy individuals, and the wallflowers.
For Dee, failure simply isn’t an option, and she truly believes that everyone has the ability to succeed. Dee emphasizes the importance of creating space for individuals to share their perspectives and their innovative ideas. She insists that there are no bad ideas, and exerts every effort to create an inclusive environment to promote conversation. In emphasizing the importance of creating such spaces, Dee poises the poignant question, “what if in the wrong answer, the right one exists?” Her value for the myriad perspectives of the individual is reflected in her approach to life: she insists that each one of us has a responsibility to not “opt out:” if we each move a single brick, together we can move buildings. Dee’s assertion that each one of our voices matters is reflected with a graceful finesse. She encourages equity and agency as she strives to leave the world better than she found it and, most importantly, she encourages each of us to not opt out.