Why did you decide to pursue a career in public health?
As an undergraduate completing a human biology degree, I was looking for alternative options to medicine based in health advancement but not directly related to patient care. I was motivated to see change in behaviors at a community and population level.It was in an undergraduate guest lecture on epidemiology that gave me a glimpse into the public health field, which is all it took for the public health lightbulb to turn on, but my graduate training formally guided my research interests and program.
How did the GSU School of Public Health prepare you for your career?
There is a reason for the school’s blooming growth. SPH provided me with the skills I needed to pursue an academic career through the strong didactic Ph.D. curriculum and research-intensive environment. The theoretical learning, paired with hands-on research skills, primed me to apply for competitive postdoctoral positions. What was probably most valuable was the independent mentoring and advice that I received from the outstanding faculty who were vested in their students’ wellbeing. I am fortunate to maintain many relationships, which to me highlights the caliber of the faculty and program.
What advice do you have for students interested in public health?
I would recommend that students first ask themselves why they are interested in the field. They can start to understand this question by incorporating courses into their current education, exploring volunteer experiences and seeking advice from a range faculty experts. With more exposure comes more in-depth understanding of the range of population applications, ongoing research and practices worldwide.
What advice would you give to current public health students?
Because public health is a multidisciplinary and dynamic field, I would provide three suggestions: 1) that students be flexible and seek as many opportunities as possible to grow their soft and hard skill sets in and out of their program; 2) that they continuously work with others to seek different perspectives and receive feedback for stronger ideas and growth; and 3) that they take advantage of the fantastic faculty and resources in their respective programs to maximize the learning and professional development opportunities available to them.
What’s your favorite GSU SPH memory?
Some of my favorite memories are based on the casual conversations with fellow graduate students hovering over one of our workspaces, where we would laugh, snack and discuss coursework and life. My most unforgettable and cherished moment in the SPH was the completion of my dissertation defense, surrounded by my colleagues, family, and amazing committee members. In that moment, there is something incredibly special in knowing that you have built and presented a quality project representing the culmination of your educational and training experiences.