Grit as a Key Factor in the Ability of Students to Achieve Productive Global Field Research

Lindsey J. Mattick, Breanne E. Lott, Christina E. Baum, Amr S. Soliman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Global fieldwork is an invaluable educational experience for students who aspire to pursue careers as global public health professionals and cancer experts. Student-led research projects can be mutually beneficial for students and host institutions by providing opportunities for bilateral learning, sharing resources, building databases, and ultimately creating uniquely informed multi-cultural health research relevant to global communities. The USA-host country partnerships can be delicate, requiring tactful approaches to the investment in the careers of students and the field projects. The US and host institutions must therefore be selective in determining which students have the privilege of participating in global field work. This paper examines the importance of grit as a character trait contributing to the success of student-led global health research projects. Grit has been explored at length as a predictor of student success in domestic educational experiences, yet is underrepresented in the context of global education, field training, and evaluation of research and learning outcomes. This manuscript utilizes testimonials of three public health graduate students recently returned from summer cancer epidemiology education training fellowships to explore the role that grit played in completion of their independent research projects. Ultimately, this paper discusses ways to identify grit in student applicants and to foster an improved capacity for grit before, during, and after their field experiences. We share the experiences with an aim of providing participant perspectives that may be used by educators, students, and administrators at US and international partner institutions to inform global research, experiential learning, and educational and training programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Global fieldwork
  • Global health
  • Grit
  • Persistence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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