Employer: Indiana Public Health Association
Current position: Program Coordinator
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Degree(s): IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, May 2022; Master of Public Health (MPH) with a dual concentration in Social & Behavioral Sciences and Health Policy & Management
Why did you choose your major/program?
In May 2019, I received my undergraduate degree in psychology from IU Bloomington, and I pictured myself eventually working with clients as a therapist/psychologist. Following my undergraduate career, I worked in a program evaluation role, and during this time, I began to realize that I had an overwhelming preference and passion for more upstream, systems change approaches to helping others.
While downstream, direct services are still incredibly essential to the health of our communities, I knew that my interest was in a broader, more high-level approach. After this realization, my mentors pointed me in the direction of public health, and here I am!
Briefly describe your career path.
As I mentioned prior, I worked in program evaluation in the first year following my undergraduate program. More specifically, I worked at Centerstone’s Research Institute in Bloomington, IN, where I had the opportunity to contribute to the data collection, data management, and reporting for a few different federal grant programs.
Then, while pursuing my MPH at FSPH, I was an intern for the Indiana Public Health Association and much of my work focused on student engagement strategy. Following my internship, I assisted with IPHA items on a contract basis before coming onboard as full-time staff in April 2022. I was hired primarily to assist with IPHA efforts related to public health workforce development and capacity building.
Describe what an average day for you might be like.
Much of my work involves connecting with partners at other agencies (community organizations, universities, health departments, associations, etc.) to align our priorities and determine how we can best collaborate to advance public health in Indiana. In addition, I assist with high-level strategy and planning related to our workforce development and capacity building efforts. I also help to coordinate various IPHA groups and events, such as our student advisory group, monthly meet-ups, health equity action team, and our policy & advocacy committee.
What advice would you give your college self about pursuing your current career path or industry?
My mom always used to say to me, “I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up,” and this resonates with me today! You don’t need to have everything figured out. In fact, you almost never will! Find peace in that truth, and trust that your experience/passions will lead you to the right place (both personally and professionally!).
What is a lesson learned at FSPH that you have been able to apply to your career?
The importance of “moving upstream” was reiterated to me throughout my time at FSPH, and this remains central to everything I do in my work today.
What is the most significant thing that’s happened to you since graduating?
Since graduating, I have enjoyed settling into my role at IPHA, taking on various responsibilities, and getting to know my colleagues and other partners.
What’s next for you?
I am surrounded by some incredible mentors at this job, and I am excited to continue growing and learning from them.
What is your favorite IUPUI/FSPH memory?
Graduation! My entire degree program was virtual, so getting to sit among my classmates and experience that accomplishment together was so special.