Denisonians in Health Professions: Pharmaceutical Science

Denisonians in health professions: pharmaceutical science - 03-04-19-lauren-thompson-300x300.jpg image #0Name: Lauren Thompson
Denison Graduation Year: 2018
Denison Major: Biochemistry, Mathematics (minor)
Graduate School: PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Class of 2023
Contact me: thomps_l1@denison.edu

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
I am in a Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD graduate program. While the classes are fascinating and challenging, I most enjoy my time in the lab. My program has us rotate through 3 different labs in our first year so I’m getting experience working with cell lines, mouse models, and patient clinical data.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
For me, the interviews were vital in really getting a feel for a program. In talking with the students and faculty, I was able to tell where I would fit in. Additionally, it was important to me that whichever program I chose had multiple labs that I was interested in. This way I would have a chance to rotate and make the best decision for myself.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
I had spent the first 22 years of my life surrounded by friends and family in Ohio. Graduate school was my first time going off on my own. While this is certainly challenging, my parents have been very supportive, especially with the big move (21 hours of driving!). Living alone in a new state is certainly scary but the other students in my program have been a great resource and I’ve even connected with some old Denison friends!

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I’ve only just started my program so I’m not entirely sure yet but I’ll likely end up in pharmaceutical industry. If not, I could definitely see myself running a research lab in an academic institution.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
Talk with other students who have been there! Don’t be afraid to reach out to Denison connections and even faculty members at programs you’re interested in. They’re surprisingly approachable and it can help your chances at getting an interview! Also, the absolute best thing to prepare yourself for graduate school is your lab experience. Get involved on campus, look for summer programs in fields you’re interested in (I did a couple in Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical Sciences labs off campus), and make sure you really understand your previous research and can talk about it!

Denisonians in Health Professions: Occupational Therapy

Denisonians in health professions: occupational therapy - 02-18-19-logan-berlet-264x300.jpg image #0Name: Logan Berlet
Denison Graduation Year: 2016
Denison Major: Psychology
Graduate/Professional School: Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) from Washington University in St. Louis, Class of 2019
Contact me: lberlet15@gmail.com

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
I am currently in my last year of my clinical doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) at Washington University in St. Louis. In our OT program we have the opportunity to get exposure to many areas of practice through clinical experiences (fieldwork), research experiences, and classroom clinical exposure. I am specifically very interested in the hand therapy area of practice within occupational therapy, so I am currently completing my doctoral research in hand therapy, mentoring students in a student-run hand therapy clinic, and have completed one of my two 12-week clinical experiences (fieldwork) in hand therapy. Despite my interest in hand therapy, I am very grateful that I have had exposure to other areas of practice through clinical experience in the program, including acute care, pediatric therapy, inpatient rehabilitation, mental health, and other areas of the field.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
After my freshman year, I knew I was very interested in psychology, education, and healthcare. However, I wasn’t sure if I could find a career that incorporated all of my areas of interest. My cousin is an occupational therapist, but at the time I had no idea the field of occupational therapy existed. Quite a few members of my family work in various aspects of healthcare, so I began to ask them about what they did and how they got there. When I talked to my cousin, she explained to me that she worked as an occupational therapist in an outpatient neurology clinic working with patients who had undergone a stroke or had other neurological conditions who were having difficulty with various activities in everyday life. She explained to me that occupational therapy involved working with patients to get them back to doing the activities they do on a daily basis (occupations) and that an occupational therapist gets to use knowledge of medical conditions (anatomy, physiology, etc.), creativity, an understanding of people, and education to help individuals get back to the things they want and need to do every day. This conversation really peaked my interest, so that summer I shadowed at an outpatient pediatric clinic working with younger children with developmental delays. That summer I got to shadow two licensed occupational therapists as they evaluated children and worked with them to get them back on track with their developmental milestones.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
Once I decided I wanted to pursue graduate school for occupational therapy, I had to find a mentor who understood my career and graduate school goals. This was challenging because I couldn’t find a lot of people that knew about the field I was interested in and there were not many alumni that I could find who followed the path to graduate school in occupational therapy. Eventually, I found Dr. Gina Dow and worked closely with her for three years at Denison to make sure I was getting experiences that would be beneficial before entering an occupational therapy graduate program. Dr. Dow helped me to determine classes I would need to take both at Denison and during the summer to meet application requirements and helped me to gain experience with individuals in the community she knew. I worked with Dr. Dow for an independent study my senior year focusing on Transition to Independent Living for Developmentally Disabled Adolescents and got exposure to a lot of individuals in the community. Denison did not offer some of the courses I needed for application requirements, so I took a few of them when I studied abroad in New Zealand, took a few courses over the summer, and got creative with the independent studies I completed at Denison.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I currently have one academic semester left in St. Louis, which includes mentoring and teaching experiences, and then I will complete my second 12-week clinical experience in inpatient rehabilitation in Colorado and complete my doctoral experience in advanced clinical practice with a focus on upper extremity amputation and prosthetic rehabilitation. I would love to get my first job in hand therapy, but that can be difficult as a new graduate, so I am open to starting my OT career in another area of practice. Overall, I am so happy I chose a field that encompasses all of my interests and allows movement across areas of practice. After graduating with my OTD and passing my board certification exam, I will be qualified to work in almost all areas of OT practice, which opens up a lot of opportunity.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
I’ll start off my advice with a funny story: I remember talking to somebody at the career center at Denison at the beginning of my sophomore year to find out as much information as possible about occupational therapy. I learned about a 3-2 program with Washington University in St. Louis in which I could complete 3 years of my undergrad degree at Denison and then finish requirements for my Masters in Occupational Therapy at Washington University. I remember thinking to myself that I did not want to join this 3-2 program because it would limit me to just one graduate school and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to move to St. Louis, MO. Ironically enough, I ended up at Washington University after all that and have had an amazing experience here. So, my advice after this story is that for graduate school, specifically OT, you end up going to school where you get in. Unfortunately, you have a lot less choice when it comes to these programs because they are competitive. Another piece of advice would be to try to get shadowing experience in a variety of areas of practice within occupational therapy. Try to shadow in pediatrics, in a hospital, in a nursing home, in a hand therapy clinic, or other areas locally. Getting a variety of shadowing experiences will really help you to understand the field of occupational therapy better and set you up for success when applying to OT school. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about occupational therapy or occupational therapy graduate school, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Nursing

Denisonians in health professions: nursing - frances-hinkamp-284x300.png image #0Name: Frances Hinkamp
Denison Graduation Year: 2016
Denison Major: Athletic training
Graduate/Professional School: Pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN), at Resurrection University, class of 2019
Contact me: franceshinkamp@gmail.com

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
Although I enjoyed many of the clinical rotations and classes that I have taken in my program, I really enjoyed OB- labor and delivery as well as postpartum.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
After graduating Denison, I really did not know what I wanted to do with my major and what I was interested in. I shadowed my aunt, a nurse anesthetist and fell in love with nursing. I looked at many programs in Chicago both bachelors and masters programs but I really liked the facility at Resurrection University and that I could finish a program in 16 months. I still had to finish some prerequisites but most of the classes I needed I had already taken at Denison. I was really excited to apply my athletic training background from Denison to nursing.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
One of the challenges I faced applying to nursing school was not knowing what programs to apply to/the process of applying. I did not really have a lot of guidance in applying to schools and felt like I did not really know what I was doing. Applying to colleges, I had a college counselor who helped me with the process but I did not have anyone guiding me for this. Fortunately, there are a lot of programs in the Chicago-land area so I was able to apply to many schools. However, none of the schools had the exact same prerequisites so it was challenging making decisions on what programs to apply to and all the different prerequisites I had or needed to take in order to apply.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
To work as a registered nurse on a medical-surgical floor of a hospital.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
I definitely think I would have benefited from someone helping me through the application process. Since I made the decision to go to nursing school after I had graduated from Denison, I was not able to use the resources on campus. I would say if you know you want to go to graduate school to take advantage of the resources at Denison through the career center. Having someone to guide you through the process would be extremely beneficial. I also think it would be helpful to reach out to people who have already graduated from Denison who were/ are currently in a similar program to reach out to them for specific advice about the program.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Osteopathic Medicine

Denisonians in health professions: osteopathic medicine - bryan-margaria-281x300.png image #0Name: Bryan Margaria
Denison Graduation Year: 2016
Denison Major: Biology
Graduate/Professional School: Pursuing a DO degree at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, class of 2020
Contact me: margar_b1@denison.edu

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
I did the pre-medical track at Denison, with a major in Biology. I focused on plant biology primarily. I chose to go into medicine based on my experiences as a medical assistant and clinical research (during my first year and sophomore summers), and through mentorship I got from professors such as Dr. Hauk, Dr. Kuhlman, and Dr. McCall. Additionally, I knew from my introductory courses in chemistry and biology that I had a strong passion for the sciences.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
A challenge for me throughout my time at Denison was time management. I was involved in many areas of campus life such as playing on the soccer team, being a resident assistant/head resident, and holding various leadership positions such as in DCGA. I struggled at times to find enough time to study; I overcame this by learning how to make the best use of all the time available in the day. I had a schedule I stuck to daily, and made sure to do my homework in all the gaps in between.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I plan on specializing in some form of medicine such as oncology, neurology, or anesthesiology.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
My first piece of advice would be to focus on building strong study habits throughout your time at Denison. Denison will provide a challenging and rigorous undergraduate education; take advantage of it! Building strong study skills such as discipline and dedication will go a long way in preparing you for medical school. Learning how to manage your time will also pay dividends in the future. Do not forget to have fun as well! Denison was some of the best times of my life; live your life to the fullest and enjoy the time you have. My second piece of advice would be to have a well rounded application. Experiences such as being involved in leadership activities and hands on experiences such as research really help boost your chances of getting into medical school. Grades and MCAT scores are important, but being a well rounded applicant will set you apart in the process. Finally, take the time to figure out if going to medical school is the right move for you. To give you an idea of what a day in the life of a medical student is like: wake up at 7 am, attend class (or watch lectures online) from 8 to 3, then frantically study from 3 to 12 pm or later. This schedule becomes even worse when you start studying for board exams. There is time for some fun, but only after exams every couple weeks. Many times parents will encourage their student to follow the premedical track when the reality is the student would prefer to be doing something else. Follow your passions! Denison offers amazing programs in many different disciplines. Medical school is among the toughest academic environments on the planet; you have to love what you are doing or you will struggle.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Dentistry

Denisonians in health professions: - liz-bailey.png image #0Name: Liz Bailey
Denison Graduation Year: 2015
Denison Majors: Biology (BS) and English (BA)
Graduate/Professional School: completed a MS in Biology from Northern Arizona University in 2017 and currently pursuing DMD at University of Pennsylvania, class of 2021
Contact me: 123eab@gmail.com

What was the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content most engaged you?
I have just finished my first year of dental school at Penn. I particularly like that dental school is a mix of both art and science. Didactic work focuses on curriculum similar to medical school, while the lab work prepares you for common clinical procedures in general dentistry. I enjoy working with my hands in lab, interacting with patients in the school clinic, and learning about the interactions between oral and systemic health.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
Sometimes figuring out what you don’t like can be extremely insightful and guide you towards what you do like! After Denison I attended a Master’s program in Biology. I realized a few months into my program that a research career was not for me. I explored other career options while in school by shadowing multiple professionals. Shadowing helped me better understand the challenges and rewards of many different professions and confirmed that dentistry was the path I wanted to pursue.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
Applying to dental school while in the middle of my Master’s program was very demanding, but having a timeline and checklist helped me accomplish what I needed to while still in school and working a second job. The fact I had already completed undergrad and could not continue taking prerequisite classes during the application process made my process slightly different. Because of the structure of Denison’s chemistry curriculum, I was limited in where I could apply to dental school. Most programs require two semesters of general chemistry and two semesters of organic chemistry. I had only taken the three semester chemistry sequence as an undergrad. After contacting many programs with my transcript to determine which chemistry class they thought I was missing, I decided it was easiest for me to apply to the limited number of programs that only required three semesters of chemistry.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I hope to pursue a career in general dentistry after I graduate in 2021!

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
My first piece of advice is to find something you love to do that isn’t academic or motivated by needing something that “looks good on an application.” The process of applying to school can be stressful, but having something you enjoy doing gives you “work/life balance” and will keep you sane (both during the application process and later on in any type of professional program)! During my interviews, I was always asked about my hobbies and how I managed stress. Find something you genuinely enjoy! Your career is not your entire life and applying to school shouldn’t be either. In terms of the actual application process, have a rough idea of where you may want apply, because this can impact what required courses you take at Denison. Each school has its own set of required classes. The chemistry requirements can be particularly difficult to match, so talking with the schools you want to apply to early can help you determine what classes you may be missing. Also, consider joining a local ASDA pre-dental chapter or start one on campus if there isn’t one! Student Doctor Network is also really helpful when researching schools and getting answers to questions you have about the process. Finally, shadowing was extremely helpful for me and you will also need hours for your application. Shadowing helped me better understand the pros and cons of the career and allowed me to see how different dentists and specialists tailor their practices to fit their lifestyle and goals. I suggest shadowing at multiple practices too, because no two practices (or even corporate offices) are alike. Best of luck and feel free to contact me any time if you have questions or want to chat!

Denisonians in Health Professions: Public Health

Denisonians in health professions: public - omar-almudallal-225x300.png image #0Name: Omar Almudallal
Denison Graduation Year: 2017
Denison Major: Biology
Graduate/Professional School: pursuing a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at Case Western Reserve University, class of 2019
Contact me: almuda_o1@denison.edu

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
I am interested in health promotion and disease prevention.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
The connections that Case offers in the Cleveland area really impacted my decision.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
I didn’t do that well in some science classes but I just kept my head down and worked hard.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I plan on getting my PharmD and an MBA and working for a pharmaceutical company.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
Make sure to look at all your options and be open to new things.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Physician Assistant

Denisonians in health professions: physician assistant - emily-lipsitz-248x300.png image #0Name: Emily Lipsitz
Denison Graduation Year: 2015
Denison Majors: BS Biology, BA Athletic Training
Graduate/Professional School: pursuing a Masters of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) at the University of Charleston Physician Assistant Program, class of 2019
Contact me: emilyalipsitz@gmail.com

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
I wanted a role in the healthcare field where I could combine my interests of working in diagnostics and directly with patients. PAs are at the interface of curing and caring, forming the bridge that connects other members of the medical team. PAs practice in collaboration with a physician but exercise substantial autonomy in diagnosing and treating patients. They have the intellectual capacity to assess symptoms and determine a diagnosis, but the time to interact and form personal connections with patients. I believe that becoming a PA will allow me to work in a career that best takes into account these different perspectives.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
I always knew I wanted some kind of career in medicine and while at Denison I was fortunate to have multiple opportunities to shadow different professionals including physicians, nurse practitioners, physical therapists and the like. Once I shadowed a physician assistant I knew it was the right fit for me. I would definitely recommend shadowing people if you have the opportunity to see what the day to day life is like in said profession before committing to multiple years of higher education. Once, I decided on pursuing a degree to become a Physician Assistant I looked through all the programs that I fulfilled the requirements for and made lists of pros and cons for each program. I then applied to ten programs. I received interviews from multiple programs and was accepted to a couple programs. Of the programs I was accepted to, I again made a list of all factors; cost, program length, PANCE pass rate etc. and decided on the University of Charleston. Ultimately what helped me make my decision was the fact that at UC I would have more opportunities to gain hands on experience during my clinical rotations because the need for medical care is much higher than other cities where the other programs I was accepted to. My thought process was the demand for PAs is so high and “you can’t teach experience” so I will be able to take my experiences anywhere I choose to pursue a career.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
Applying to PA school, med school, whatever, it may be is extremely competitive and can be quite overwhelming. In regard to the PA school application process I didn’t really know many people who had done it before but was fortunate to meet a friend of a friend who offered some guidance. My advice would be to use your resources. Contact alumni (I’m happy to help!), friends, read blogs and advice columns. Knowledge is power, so the more prepared you can be the better. Another challenging area were interviews. I worked as a Senior Interviewer at Denison and have also been involved with the interview process at my program and again and again the people who succeed are the ones who find ways to differentiate themselves. So, my advice would be to get involved in a program or organization that is different than the “typical” applicant. For me this was a cross-country bike trip with an organization called 4K for Cancer. Now, I’m not saying hop on your bicycle right now, but deliberately choose extra curricular experiences whether it be research, volunteering or work experience that sets you apart from other applicants.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I am currently between applying to a residency program in a specialty role or applying directly to a job as an individually practicing PA. Currently, I am in the middle of rotations so it will depend how they go and what areas I am interested in when I finish. I currently see myself working in a pediatric speciality or the emergency department for my first role out of PA school. The PA profession is great because it allows you the flexibility to switch specialties multiple times throughout your career. While I plan to pursue a traditional career at first, my ultimate career goal is to purchase a bus and transform it into a mobile clinic and provide medical care to underserved populations.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
I would definitely recommend getting all your “ducks in a row” before applying. First off, it can be a very expensive application process and being prepared increases your chance of only having to apply once. Secondly, there is no “right” timeline, it’s when it is “right” for you. Personally, I took a year and a half off after graduating from Denison and worked as a Research Coordinator at Boston University and I am SO glad that I did. I was not ready to go right back to school and the time between gave me valuable perspective and opportunities that made me a more prepared student and a better practitioner in the long run. My main point is don’t feel pressured to go right back to school if you need a break and don’t feel pressured by the timeline of your friends and peers. I have classmates in my program who are 42 years old and classmates who are 21. In my opinion, whether you graduate professional school at 25, 30 or 35 it really does not make a major difference. You have your entire life to be whatever profession you choose to pursue but you never get these precious years after graduation back. So take whatever time you need to see the world, “find yourself”, gain experiences and when it’s time to pursue your next professional step you’ll know and you’ll be grateful for the time you took for yourself.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Nutrition

Denisonians in health professions: - greta-garland-230x300.png image #0Name: Greta Garland
Denison Graduation Year: 2017
Denison Major: Biology
Graduate/Professional school: pursuing a Masters of Science (MS) in Nutrition & Dietetics from the University of Pittsburgh, class of 2020
Contact me: geg45@pitt.edu

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
I applied to different graduate schools based on their location and what the focus of their program is. I was more interested in clinical nutrition so I chose a graduate school that focused on this. My interview at the University of Pittsburgh is what impacted my decision the most because I felt from the interview that the professors and directors of the program would take an interest in me and my education, similar to the way that professors at Denison did. I also fell in love with the city of Pittsburgh when I traveled there for my interview.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
Learning about the journey and steps that were necessary to become a dietitian. There are many different pathways and options to become a dietitian but overall you need to have the required coursework and an accredited internship to be a registered dietitian. I ended up choosing a coordinated masters program which means that the necessary schoolwork and the accredited internship are combined into one program that you apply for. I didn’t realize what exactly I wanted to do post-grad until the end of my junior year. Figuring out all of the different things I needed to do to apply to the graduate school that was right for me senior year was a bit overwhelming but definitely worth it.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
This is an interesting question for me right now and one I have been asking myself quite a bit. I am currently working towards applying for medical school while in this nutrition graduate program but I am still trying to figure out my exact timeline. I have a strong passion for nutrition and I know that my ultimate goal is to be able to apply my nutrition education to be a practicing physician one day.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
Don’t ever think that you need to know exactly what you want to do with your life today, tomorrow, or even next year. Follow what you feel passionate about at the moment and try to get the most out of anything that you end up doing, while also realizing you can change your mind at any time. Nutrition and Dietetics is an incredibly important field and there are so many different opportunities and directions that registered dietitians can apply their knowledge. I think it is a great field to go into!

Denisonians in Health Professions: Osteopathic Medicine

Denisonians in health professions: osteopathic medicine - liza-haggenjos-300x300.png image #0Name: Liza Haggenjos
Denison Graduation Year: 2017
Denison Major: Biology
Graduate/Professional school: pursuing a Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, class of 2021
Contact me: lh245989@pcom.edu

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
In medical school, so far, I’ve enjoyed how applicable anatomy is when learning our systems based blocks. The relationship between structure and function helps when learning physiology. It also helps with our OMM course to visualize the muscles in the body.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
My junior year, I studied for the MCAT and took it in April. Then I researched the essay questions for the primary applications while asking mentors and faculty for letters of recommendation so as to have everything written and polished to submit my primaries as soon as possible. I subsequently did the same for my secondaries. After all that, my decision came down to location -did I get accepted to a place I wanted to live? I knew I wanted a DO program and I applied to those I wanted to be a part of.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
Medical school is always hard and is even harder when students don’t seek help for whatever their problems may be. During my first semester, I felt like I was falling behind and worried it would impact my performance. In response, I made an appointment with a professor and discussed how I can improve. The faculty at medical schools have seen everything and genuinely want their students to succeed.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
Residency, likely in primary care.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
First, shadow medical professionals or get as much clinical experience as possible to gain a good foundation of medicine in the US. Second, develop a good schedule to accomplish school work but to also build in time to relax.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Physician

Denisonians in health professions: physician - katelyn-benson-255x300.png image #0Name: Katelyn Benson
Denison Graduation Year: 2016
Denison Major: Biology
Graduate/Professional School: pursuing a MD (class of 2022) and has completed a Master of Public Health (MPH) at the University of Buffalo
Contact me: benson_k2@denison.edu

What was the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content most engaged you?
In graduate school for public health, I studied health behavior and community health. I was most engaged in linking homeless populations in Buffalo, NY to health care, as well as pilot study that integrated behavioral health and primary care services. I was excited to study the sociocultural factors that influence decisions surrounding wellness and healthcare. Next, I will begin medical school.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
A number of factors influenced my application decisions, but a few standout factors most impacted my experience in school. These were location and faculty interest. My graduate program was smaller, which allowed faculty to dedicate ample time to student interests. It was great to match with a faculty advisor who had similar research interests and extensive experience in the field. Location is particularly important in public health because of the practical field work tied to the degree. In Buffalo, local agencies lead essential public health programs that students are able to work within.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
Finding my specific passion was the biggest challenge I faced during my two years masters degree. When I started, I was interested in health care access and mental health. I found that these two areas are entirely too broad. To narrow my focus, I got involved in a couple different projects right from the start. From there, I was able to determine which aspects of the work sparked my interest and aligned best with my career goals. For me, this was direct communication with study participants and community members. For others, it may be more data analysis or public policy oriented.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I will be starting medical school soon. Upon graduation, I hope to practice medicine in a primary care field while maintaining a role in health care access for vulnerable populations.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
If you are considering a career in public health, it is important to realize that it is an enormous field. Take time to consider your strengths and read about the various disciplines to see what might be right for you. From health services administration to infectious outbreak investigation, there is a specialty for anyone who wants to play a role in improving general health and wellbeing.