Undergraduate Institution: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Current Role: Research Assistant, Brown University School of Public Health
Why did you choose the Brown University School of Public Health?
I chose Brown because it is a strong but small program that provides research opportunities to master's students. I liked the fact that I was going to be able to work with faculty on projects that I cared about from the onset of the program.
What made Brown's program different from other programs you considered?
Brown's program is much smaller than many of the others I applied to. The size of the program allowed me to interact with many professors regularly. Additionally, because of the small size, there were many mentorship opportunities available that are not available at bigger programs.
What did you enjoy most about your program?
The best part of the program was the ability to perform research from the onset. Performing research while taking classes allowed me to apply lessons from my coursework everyday.
What was your academic area of interest and why?
I studied opioid overdose prevention, substance use and harm reduction. Before starting my master's, I worked in harm reduction and wanted to continue to focus on these topics through my academic career.
How did your program prepare you for your current position/next steps?
I am working as a research assistant at Brown University School of Public Health for a group that studies opioid overdose prevention. Before my education at SPH, I had very little formal public health knowledge. I did not know the difference between an odds ratio and a risk ratio or how to conduct or even properly read an epidemiological study. Over the two years, I not only learned these skills, but ran my own study. Through my course work as well as student research assistantship, I grew tremendously. I was able to apply concepts learned in class to real world public health work. In the two years, I had wrote and published two manuscripts, which is quite a feat considering that before the program, my understanding of epidemiology was quite limited. The knowledge and experienced gained at Brown was fully essential to being able to work in public health and epidemiology.
What did you enjoy most about Providence?
Providence is a great, small city. Despite its smaller size, there are many places to explore locally. There are always opportunities to engage with the arts and Rhode Island has many state parks that are absolutely beautiful.
What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
As you apply, see if there is a professor working on areas of interest to you. Try to reach out to them as you are applying to understand how you might be able to work with them while you are here.