Students ask: alumni dish advice


Today, as part of our Welcome Back Event for students, the SPH’s Alumni Association, Student Government and Career Services organized a wonderful panel of fabulous alumni. Students asked questions, and alumni panelists answered. I was impressed by their wisdom and perspective. A few themes emerged.

Students and alumni mingle after event.
  • Whether doing an internship or in a position, leave the organization better than you found it. Don’t take more than you give. Don’t just think about what you want from the organization. Ask what’s needed and figure out what you can give. Great advice that harkens back to John F. Kennedy: Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. I really look for people who want to give as well as receive.
  • When asked whether students should work between undergraduate school and graduate school, panelists advised them to do what they want to do. One panelist said to figure out what you want to do. Go to a new city, get experience in the field, and have some fun. This is an important time in your life, and you can take time to figure out your next steps.
    If I Knew THEN What I Know NOW
    Alumni discuss how their experiences here at the School influenced their careers.

    Leah Devlin, DDS, MPH ’84 (HPM)
    Professor of the Practice
    Former NC Health Director

    Participants included:
    Joseph John, FACHE, MHA ’05 (HPM)
    The Emory Clinic

    Jeffrey Nguyen, MHA ’10 (HPM)
    Project Administrator
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

    Jean Orelien, DrPH ’07 (BIOS)
    President, CEO & Founder

    Lauren Thie, MSPH ’09 (ESE)
    NC Division of Public Health

    Gina Upchurch, RPh, MPH ’93 (HB)
    Founder and Executive Director
    Senior PHARMAssist

  • Another student asked how to position herself for the job she wants when she graduates. She was advised to form close ties with professors who are in her area of interest, offer to help them, work on their projects, get experience and get to know them. That can make a big difference.
  • Panelists were asked what they might have done differently while in school based on where they are now. They answered: taken a health behavior course, learned more about strategic planning, and studied budgeting.
  • One wise panelist reminded students that they should major in people. No matter what job we take, a lot of what we do is about interacting with, collaborating with or managing people. I could not agree more.

Once again, our alumni showed how smart they are and how much value a degree from this School provides in the years ahead. It’s a great investment. As I read about students who get hoodwinked into dead-end degrees that won’t lead to jobs, I am grateful that our degrees provide the keys to not just jobs but the missions to which so many of our students aspire. Check out the video of the event here (under News)!

Today, we also recognized several SPH students for their exemplary commitment and excellence at our School. See the pictures below!


Tyrone Hall (on the left) received one of the two Class of 2012 scholarships. (The other recipient was Justin Bailey, master’s student in HB.)

Samantha Kepler, Master’s student in NUTR, also won the Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship. And last, Jennifer Cassanova (on the right) received the Alumni Association’s annual Spirit of Giving Scholarship.

Happy Monday! Barbara


Featured Posts

Comments are closed for this post.