Employer: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Current position: Public Health Advisor
Location: Atlanta, GA
Degree(s): Doctor of Jurisprudence, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, IUPUI, 2018; Master of Public Health, Richard M Fairbanks School of Public Health, IUPUI, 2018; Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice, Indiana University Bloomington, 2014
Why did you choose your major/program?
I chose a BA in Criminal Justice because I originally wanted to be a criminal lawyer. Then, I became an emergency medical technician while in school at IU Bloomington, and I discovered my passion for health law. I decided to pursue the JD/MPH dual degree program, with concentrations in Health Law and Health Policy and Management, while in law school to increase my background knowledge of public health and healthcare.
From my first public health class at Fairbanks School of Public Health, I knew public health was my true passion. Through internships and employment experiences, I have further specialized into my favorite area of public health, emergency preparedness and management law and policy.
Do you have any research interests?
My area of expertise is public health emergency preparedness law and policy. I have previously published with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on that topic and I plan to continue to pursue related research and publication opportunities.
Currently, I’m particularly interested in the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on future public health emergency preparedness laws, funding, court cases, and policy decisions at the federal, state, and local levels of government.
Briefly describe your career path.
After graduating from my JD/MPH program, I worked as a public health emergency preparedness analyst at the Indiana Department of Health. I then became the emergency preparedness grant manager at the Indiana Department of Health.
During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was hired as a public health advisor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work as an emergency coordinator (functional title) in the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services and an operations manager (functional title) on CDC’s COVID-19 response.
In October 2021, I took a new public health advisor position in CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control to work as a project officer (functional title) managing state and tribal injury prevention funding opportunities.
Describe what an average day for you might be like.
Currently, I function as a project officer in the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. In this position, I mainly manage funding opportunities that CDC provides to governmental and community partners to support public health projects around the country.
On an average day, I will 1) answer questions from state and tribal partners about their funding awards; 2) connect partners to CDC resources and subject matter experts; 3) review partner activities to ensure they are completing funding requirements; and 4) help partners navigate the funding process.
What advice would you give your college self about pursuing work in your current industry?
Keep your mind open and take all of the internship and networking opportunities you can get. You never know what experience or professional connection will help you find your true passion. If it sounds interesting, even if it’s not 100 percent what you thought you’d be doing, try it.
What is a lesson learned at FSPH that you have been able to apply to your career?
The process by which public health programs are created, funded, and managed.
What is the most significant thing that’s happened to you since graduating?
Being a part of the United States’ federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What’s next for you?
Working in the government or nonprofit sector as a subject matter expert in public health policy and strategy.
What is your favorite IUPUI/FSPH memory?
Working on a joint research project with Moroccan public health students in Professor Jack Turman’s global public health class.