It was pouring outside, but on Friday, Oct. 7, close to 200 potential applicants came to check out our graduate programs. It’s so exciting to talk with people at the beginning or next stage of their graduate student careers. They’re smart, interesting, skilled and really amazing.
At Friday’s event, Laura Linnan, ScD, professor of health behavior and associate dean for academic and student affairs, presented a great overview of our academic programs and student resources. Kristen Voltzke, MPH, epidemiology doctoral student and co-president of student government, gave a rousing summary of why she came here and why the Gillings School is great. Jim Herrington, PhD, executive director of the Gillings Global GatewayTM and Professor of the Practice in health behavior, described the many wonderful global opportunities here. Kristin Black, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in health behavior, blew me away with the story of how she got here, her experiences here and what it took to make it as a graduate student. I loved how she talked about the support she got from faculty, staff and fellow students.
One of our stars celebrates 10 years of service
Charletta Sims Evans, MEd, our assistant dean for student affairs, gave an animated, engaging and very funny wrap-up. Charletta just celebrated her 10th anniversary working for the state and her fifth at Gillings. She followed up on a student’s question about juggling family with studies by talking about what a great place this was to be pregnant when she came here. If anyone in the audience had doubts, their minds were changed when Charletta finished talking. She told about resources she had called upon in nearly every department – from advice about morning sickness to best practices in many other areas. The audience must have concluded that Gillings is nirvana for pregnant women! I am so grateful for Charletta’s leadership.
Working with students is complex, thrilling, and sometimes incredibly challenging. Along the way to degrees, life happens. Students become ill; their family members have crises; sometimes, sadly, dear family members pass away. Students can get overwhelmed, run out of money, need help setting priorities, get married, need help getting along and finding the right advisers.
Charletta is there for all these things, helping students turn challenges into opportunities. She leads a great OSA team, and they also work with our faculty and staff to see the world through students’ eyes, sometimes brokering and navigating compromises so students succeed. Being the top public school of public health doesn’t just happen. We work at it every day. Having the right people, including Charletta Sims Evans, who understand all dimensions of students’ needs, including legal, psychological, academic and human, makes all the difference. We celebrate her five years with the Gillings School and 10 years of total service to the state of North Carolina!