Tag Archive: payson


As part of my participation in the TechChange Course “Mobiles for International Development”, I conducted an interview with professor Laura Murphy at Tulane University’s School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine and Payson Center for International Development.

Mini Biography

Laura Murphy is clinical associate professor in the Department of Global Health Systems and Development at Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (SPHTM). Her teaching spans development, population, environment, and interdisciplinary social science research, and in 2008 she earned the President’s Award for Excellence in Professional and Graduate Teaching. She is also an adjunct associate professor at Tulane’s Payson Center for International Development and an affiliated faculty member at Tulane’s Stone Center for Latin American Studies. She holds a BS from Stanford in Mechanical Engineering, Values, Technology & Society, and a doctorate from UNC-Chapel Hill in City & Regional Planning.

Interview Notes

I spoke with Dr. Murphy today (Monday, November 21, 2011) about the technologies we’ve encountered in the TC105 course, her views on some of them, and where she sees the future of the field going. Dr. Murphy’s work focuses on social change in rural Africa and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in that region, as well as mobile phone use in the region. Here are some of Dr. Murphy’s (paraphrased) comments on the field, the merits and pitfalls of some of these technologies, and her vision for the future.

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A New Beginning

Hurricane Irene is making landfall along the East Coast, plowing toward my family, friends, and colleagues in Baltimore, DC, New York, and the surrounding areas. Those of us here in New Orleans and back home in Florida can’t help but feel grateful that it’s not our turn this time, but we watch with a keen eye, knowing the devastation and struggles that come with these storms, our hearts going out to those in the path and hoping Irene will be gentle.

Next week marks the start of a new semester for me, as a PhD student at the Payson Center for International Development at Tulane University. I’m on the verge of completing my coursework and will be spending a lot of time this fall working on my research question, formulating my committee, and studying for the comprehensive exams. I’m also embarking on two new opportunities in my career – teaching an undergraduate course at Payson on Information & Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) and starting up my own business to conduct consulting and contract work, beginning with a job for New Orleans Medical Mission Services, a group I have been volunteering for over the past year.

It’s as good a time as any to begin a new chronicle of these experiences and sharing new research I have been working on, the struggles and triumphs in the humanitarian aid and disaster response fields, the trials and tribulations of grad school, investigating the ever-changing ICT4D field, and exploring professional options.

“Ports in the Storm.” That’s me!