Kathryn McGriff

MPH/MBA Dual Degree Student Kathryn McGriffWhen Kathryn McGriff was in high school, she and a group of friends made a bet to climb a rock wall in their local gym. Kathryn tackled the bet and climbed the wall.

She’s been hooked ever since.

An MBA/MPH dual-degree seeking senior, Kathryn advocates living a healthy, active lifestyle and aims to make that accessible to all.

Kathryn’s journey into public health wasn’t straightforward. During her time as an undergraduate student at Northeastern University, she majored in International Affairs. She says she chose this major because she was a part of a foreign exchange program in high school that exposed her first-hand to different cultures; she became friends with the daughter of her host family while staying in Japan. The families then swapped, and Kathryn hosted her Japanese friend while she took classes in the U.S.

It was during her junior year in undergrad when she began to seriously pursue her desire for public health. As part of this academic year, Kathryn spent five months interning full-time for Global Health through Education, Training and Service, a “non-governmental organization dedicated to improving health in underserved communities around the world,” according to their website. She gained practical hands on experience in the public health sector, which opened her eyes to the career possibilities within this field.

Then, during her senior year, Kathryn interned at John Snow Inc., a public health consulting firm. This internship confirmed that public health was the right fit for her.

Kathryn wanted to combine her desire for public health with applicable, real-world business principles. She says, “I sought specifically an MBA/MPH program due to my career interests in health policy analysis and project management of public health initiatives.” She believes having an MBA degree “to be foundational to becoming a competent and effective manager and leader.”

She chose UAB because of the reputation and accreditation of the individual MBA and MPH programs. She believes the MPH curriculum aligns directly with her career interests, and the affordability of the programs allowed her to focus exclusively on the dual degree without needing to also work during her tenure at the university.

Kathryn, a Washington native, has family in Huntsville and Birmingham, and the UAB graduate program allowed her to be close to her family.

During her time as a UAB graduate student, Kathryn interned at M-Power Ministries. A proponent of experiential learning, Kathryn utilized this internship to connect with others, build relationships, and “experience first-hand how the two fields of public health and business join together seamlessly,” she says.

As for her future, Kathryn says she plans to keep her career path open.

Although her UAB graduate career has kept her busy, she wants to rock climb again. She plans on tackling the rocks in Moss Rock Preserve soon.