Give Marquette

Marquette University Alumni Association

All-University Award Recipients

Spirit of Marquette Award

Shital VoraDr. Shital Chauhan Vora, H Sci '04, PT '06
Oak Park, Ill

Inspiration can strike in the most unexpected places. For Shital, it was in the poorest villages of Honduras during a 2003 spring break medical mission with other college students. She was moved by the extreme poverty and captivated by the spirits of the villagers she served. Her desire to create a more sustainable way to help led her to co-founding Global Brigades, now the world's largest student-led international development organization.

The 600 university chapters of Global Brigades are in six countries. They deploy video intromore than 10,000 students annually to Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua and Ghana to provide medical care, advance public health and economic development, address environmental issues, and champion human rights.

Shital formed the first Marquette Medical Brigade not long after her initial Honduras trip, rounding up about 25 Marquette classmates and two health care professionals for a 2003–04 winter break mission. By 2005, there were nearly 80 chapters at campuses across the country.

Today, she is based in Chicago and runs Global Brigades with co-founder Steven Atamian and a leadership team that includes her husband, Pallav Vora. They are supported by an international board of directors that includes two students, as well as extensive ground teams in the areas served.

Shital credits Marquette's culture of service and strong mentorship and support from the school's faculty and staff with helping Global Brigades get off the ground. Today, the Marquette Global Brigades chapter continues to organize annual student trips to provide medical, dental and public health services, most recently to Nicaragua in January 2016.

"There is always an opportunity to put yourself out there and get involved,” she says says. "Becoming a 'doer' instead of an observer is critical to becoming the difference."