Explore UAB

School of Public Health News May 25, 2023

Degrees and graduation years: MPH, University of Alabama at Birmingham 2022; BS, University of Alabama at Birmingham 2019

Current employer and job: Epidemiology Research Coordinator - Rush University Medical Center

Q: Why did you choose to study public health, and how did you decide on UAB's School of Public Health?

I chose to study public health because it encompasses my interest in the intersection between clinical healthcare, scientific research, public policy, and community health outcomes. I was especially interested in Epidemiology as an area of study for me to apply skills gained from my laboratory research background in a translational context while also exploring other aspects of the public health field. UAB's School of Public Health was my top choice as it allowed me to work full time in laboratory research at UAB Medicine while obtaining my Master's degree and offered additional resources and outstanding opportunities I would not have found elsewhere.

Q: What's something that people may not know about you?

Outside of my career interests in public health and research, I like to balance my time between engaging in different hobbies or challenging myself to learn something new. Whether through reading, adapting a new skill, or taking in a new experience, this interest in lifelong learning has extended beyond my academic studies to facilitate personal growth and ultimately allowed me to become more well-rounded not only in my personal life but also my professional life. Some of my favorite hobbies include baking, writing, sketching, playing piano, exploring outdoors, and photography.

Q: Where do you hope to go from here, or what are your future goals?

After obtaining more public health/epi exposure in a professional capacity, I hope to gain more clarity about my preferences working with different components of the epi research process and use this knowledge to inform what route I would like to take next in my public health career. I am considering eventually returning to school to obtain my PhD and later apply for CDC fellowships or similar positions with the CDC EIS (Epidemic Intelligence Service). However, depending on what my upcoming experiences bring, I may find that I enjoy working more closely with public health departments and opt to continue in governmental work, or pursue a path focused on public health communications, management, or bioinformatics.

Q: What advice would you give to current public health students or recent graduates just beginning their careers?

Apply yourself, network, and explore opportunities available that might interest you. Take advantage of professional networking opportunities or career-building resources and learn from your mentors and other students in similar or different pathways as you. Before securing my post-graduation and current job, I applied to countless positions my final semester of graduate school and even after I relocated to Chicago and transitioned into clinical epi research. So long as you continue applying yourself and networking (even when things may feel discouraging), an opportunity is likely to arise that will allow you to advance in your career, even if it's not exactly what you initially envisioned.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?

I am grateful for the opportunities and memories gained from my time at UAB, and I hope to carry this knowledge into my future career and endeavors. I encourage anyone interested in a career in public health to research the many opportunities offered within the field and engage with public health practitioners to learn more about the essential functions provided that are required to maintain healthy communities and promote policies beneficial to the greater good on a worldwide scale.

Are you an alumnus of our school and want to read more about McKenzi and other Alumni Spotlights? Visit the private UAB School of Public Health alumni group on LinkedIn and request to join.

Back to Top