Please tell us about your long-term career goals.
My long-term career goal is to work for a nonprofit organization in my community to help minimize health inequities. I’m interested about informing the public about public health resources that can help prevent chronic and infectious diseases. I aim to work in an environment that is inclusive and receptive to decreasing health inequities, closing health gaps, and advancing public health policies after graduation.
Why did you choose IU and your specific major?
I am currently a junior at Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health majoring in epidemiology. When I was diagnosed with hepatitis B during my junior year of high school, I became more interested in finding a profession where I could help those who are going through a personal health diagnosis. At that time, I lacked resources such as a support group comprised of peers my age or older who were in a similar circumstance. However, I was able to do more research about the public health field and grew an awareness of studying epidemiology.
I knew this would be the right path for me to help others who find it challenging going through a diagnosis with little or no support. IU FSPH has a great epidemiology BSPH program to help align my passion and turn it into a career. The program has also given me endless support from my peers, faculty, and career advisors to help me find internships or jobs within the field of my interest.
What’s next in your career plan?
Up next for me is interning at CVS Health this summer. I am thrilled and honored to be serving the role of a retail management intern. I applied for this role and later heard back from the hiring manager who graduated with an MPH. He admired my sense of passion for preventing chronic and infectious diseases while being personable with my own story.
What is a piece of advice you want to share with your peers?
A piece of advice I would share with my peers is to always remind yourself of what makes you passionate about the career you hope to achieve one day. Throughout my internship and job interviews, I always like to show my passion for epidemiology. This makes the recruiter or hiring manager more intrigued about why you are interested in working for a company that aligns with your values.
I also believe if you have a personal story that relates to your passion and that you are willing to share with the recruiters, it will demonstrate your self-motivation and commitment to the company. Lastly, I took steps to meet with my career advisor before submitting my final copy of my résumé and cover letter to the companies I was applying for.
During the meeting with my career advisor, I was walked through the areas I needed improvement on. I learned about how listing and explaining the skills from my previous work experiences in my cover letter helps recruiters know specifically how I was able to accomplish that skill. This can also help recruiters know if I have the skill set that matches their job description.
Describe your favorite experience(s) you’ve had during the program.
An amazing experience thus far has been my current opportunity to serve for the IU Center for Global Health as a COVID-19 contact tracer. My role consisted of evaluating and monitoring cases that meet the standard case definition of a close-contact and/or COVID-positive individual based on CDC case guidelines.
This furthered my interest in public health and helped me build skills in how to interview cases, teamwork, and data-keeping. This job has also given me the opportunity to gain excellent interpersonal communication skills through executing crisis counseling, referrals to medical resources, and building trust with cases through cultural competency.
I was also very fortunate to also have the opportunity to work in a clinical setting at HPW Diabetes. I gained previous time-management, organizational and problem-solving skills as a clinical receptionist. My responsibilities included working with patient care, collecting copays, insurance verification, downloading (GlucoTrack) insulin pumps, organizing patient schedules, and displaying leadership skills during the COVID pandemic.
I was given the opportunity by Dr. Isaiah Pittman, founder of HPW, to run the clinic myself due to sick leave from his medical assistants. This furthered my interest to work in the public health field after interacting with regular patients and seeing their chances of having type 1 or type 2 diabetes be reduced.