Posted on 01 Jul 2020

C19 Coalition Volunteer Highlight: Mary Robertson

2-3 minutes

The new, uncharted territory of COVID-19 holds to be the challenge for public health officials, researchers, and policymakers alike. With new developments and various forecasts for the future, adaptability and flexibility have been the gold star for many individuals to focus on their intended mission and goals.

This holds true for volunteer, Mary Robertson, who joined the C19 Coalition at the beginning of April. Through her Ph.D. research in Anthropology, Robertson studied the diversification of advertising in South Africa and how to mend issues of representation. After graduating, she moved into research to design tech experiences that seek to benefit others.

Through various user experience (UX) and design research, she continues to gain knowledge in what motivates individuals, solving problems, and learning new concepts.

From volunteering with the help desk to conducting communication analysis, Robertson continues to impact the mission of the organization. Through professional experience, Robertson has used her skill set to determine C19 Coalition’s outreach through the help desk and beyond.

“I want to share the experiences of people who are on the front lines, people who are on the ground, and people who have expressed and shared their concerns with us”Mary Robertson, C19 Coalition Volunteer

Robertson continues to strategize how the organization will pursue such individuals to address their concerns and lessen disparities with COVID-19.

Volunteers, such as Robertson, have been the driving force for C19 Coalition’s accomplishments and efforts. We continue to inspire our volunteers and partners to empower change within their communities.

Q&A with Mary Robertson

Tell us about your background.

I moved to Chicago back in 2009 to study Anthropology. I looked at the history of advertising in South Africa and how groups talk to different groups of people, and how organizations are trying to fix representation. After graduating, I moved into research to create tech experiences that are good for people (in general). I did some digital consulting and now, I want to use my time consciously and help with the pandemic.

What are some of your passions?

I enjoy research - seeing what motivates people and using what I learn to make things better for people. I love solving problems for people, learning new things, challenging myself to new things. I also love to Latin dance, however, I haven’t danced much due to COVID. Dancing is hard as it is, but dancing 6ft apart is even harder.

What made you interested in volunteering with C19 Coalition?

During a time where more individuals have a bit more free time, volunteering seemed to be a good way to spend my time. C19 Coalition was the first that got back to me. The team was very prompt, responsive, coordinated quickly. Although that may not seem like the best response to this question, it is important to work within a team that is quick in this ever changing climate.

If you are interested in joining Mary and volunteering with the C19 Coalition, reach out to us at

Alizay Rizvi is a blogger with the C19 Coalition. She has worked on health equity programs, including at the American Heart Association, to increase diversity in the health and social justice sector and aid in finding solutions to lessen health disparities and inequities in the United States. As a young professional, she is passionate about educating and empowering her generation to become agents of change. You can find her on LinkedIn.