On Friday night, May 24, the School of Public Health kicked off the weekend with its annual commencement reception, attended by faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends, and family members.
Professor Mark Lurie introduced three graduating students who reflected on their time at the School of Public Health.
Lydia Haile, AB/MPH
“We have learned, both in theory and in practice, that the communities that we form are important. I am a product of that fact, and as I continue to study communities like these in my time after graduation, after we all disassemble, and spread out to our corners of the country, I will carry the knowledge that I am not alone. It will be my task to form new communities in the spaces I navigate in the future, but I believe I will always retain a membership here, as one who has taught and been taught, and as a part of a larger whole. I am really happy to celebrate that whole today.”
Alex Adia, AB/MPH
“We have all gotten the chance to work with researchers with tens or hundreds of publications, countless grant dollars, and the respect of others in their field. All of us have still received mentorship, time in office hours, or advice from them, despite the fact that this support does not reflect as much on their CV’s as a few hours work on their publications would. What is the point of being supportive, or being a mentor then? The lesson is that without extending your work beyond yourself, to the network of others who can shape and refine your ideas while you help theirs, your work loses meaning.
“None of my projects or publications or presentations would mean that much in isolation. Nothing that we do individually to publish or intervene in health problems means that much if we try to do it individually. The greatest opportunities for me to learn here at the School of Public Health have been outside of classes, exams, and research. I encourage you to find the people who made your time here meaningful, and to thank them deeply for leaving an indelible mark on you as a person.”
Brianna Osetinsky, PhD Health Services Research
“There is so much of this learning process that is difficult and challenging. Beyond your own resilience, we know what makes resilience is your support system, it’s what drives you through. I have had the wonderful experience of finding an education that has challenged me and helped me grow, and the support network to navigate and maximize that experience.”
Outstanding Service Awards
In addition to hearing from student speakers, two faculty members were honored with the School’s inaugural awards for Outstanding Service to Undergraduate Education.
John Fulton, Clinical Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, holds four degrees from Brown (BA, Master’s in Sociology, Master’s in Education, and PhD in Sociology) and has a distinguished record of accomplishment in cancer surveillance, programming, and evaluation with the RI Department of Health, including 10 years as Chief Health Program Evaluator in the Division of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology. In addition to service on Brown’s IRB and on the School’s Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, Dr. Fulton “is a committed and passionate undergraduate advisor,” Dean Marcus said, describing him as “a consistent advocate for undergraduate education, and for providing students with skills that will enhance their professional, cultural, and ethical capacities in public health.”
Patricia Nolan, Associate Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice, has been a partner to the School for over two decades, serving as the Director of the RI Department of Health, the founding director of the RI Public Health Institute, as well as a teacher, mentor, and advisor to countless students. “While she will be stepping away from a classroom teaching role,” Dean Marcus said, “we are very fortunate that she will continue to be an MPH Core Advisor.”
Congratulations to these award winners and to all 174 graduating public health students!