Business student

MPH students explore careers and develop skills during their summer break

All students in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program have internship requirements to graduate. Although summer experiential learning opportunities are non-credited, they are designed to not only align with each student’s interests, but also allow them to work directly with employers to learn valuable skills in real contexts.

Public health students also benefit from the collaborative environment of this multidisciplinary program, which is a joint effort of Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the College of Community and Public Affairs.

Three students spent the summer of 2022 working in various sectors of the public health field to expand their professional marketing through hands-on experiences. Here’s what they learned.

Valerie Palmeri: Broome County Health Department

There are many potential career paths in public health, but Valerie Palmeri, who grew up in Endwell, NY, never expected to find hers so close to home.

A summer experiential learning opportunity at the Broome County Health Department has put Palmeri, 22, at the heart of efforts to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to underserved rural areas and share helpful information with residents. reluctant to vaccinate. His position in the health department was created through his AmeriCorps placement with the Rural Health Network.

Palmeri’s internship took her to senior centers and community events and other venues around Broome County, NY. It’s an experience that she says helped refine her passion for health promotion in her own community by exploring the far-reaching services provided by a county’s health department.

“Public health is really about that outreach, sharing information with people about different programs,” Palmeri says. “We don’t force anyone to get vaccinated, we just recommend it. We also do a lot of home vaccination visits to help people who can’t leave their homes and make sure we can answer their questions.

Palmeri says experience in the social aspects of the public health field is valuable in helping chart a course for a potential career.

Elisabeth Van TassellWillis Towers Watson

How do different companies provide health insurance coverage? How do insurance plans differ for different employees? And how do vendor insurance plans vary?

These are the questions Elisabeth Van Tassell answered during her internship as a business support specialist in the health and benefits industry at insurance advisor Willis Towers Watson branch in Arlington, Virginia.

“It’s about making sure people have access to the healthcare they need, and being part of how that works for different companies has been fascinating,” says Van Tassell, 22, from Westchester, NY A big part of his internship was drawing on the skills of his background in statistics when it came to looking at insurance plans.

“I learned to understand the financial aspect behind all of this,” she says, “because a company is going to give its employees the best possible insurance, but it’s also going to have to realistically balance the costs.”

Van Tassell says her work at Willis Towers Watson has also expanded on what she learned in the classroom in the areas of health policy, insurance and management, allowing her to play a key role in projects that directly affect workers.

“That experience forced me to become more resourceful and learn new things,” says Van Tassell, “which is great because they want you to be able to pursue different options in a business like this.”

Megan Sticco: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

After gaining experience as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and more than a year working at the University’s COVID-19 testing center, Megan Sticco was eager to expand her skills beyond front lines of health care.

She found this opportunity during her summer experiential learning at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Tarrytown, NY, helping manage Phase IV clinical trials for drugs already FDA-approved but still in testing.

For Sticco, it was a chance to deepen his understanding of an area of ​​healthcare that is not often discussed in detail due to the confidential nature of the work. “There are so many interesting sections in clinical trial management,” she says, and being brought into this process during her internship helped her deepen what she learned in her classes.

It was also a valuable opportunity for professional networking, as well as a chance to develop marketable skills through tasks such as reviewing data and survey information.

“Part of what I love so much about public health is that you can always help people, and working at Regeneron has allowed me to do a bit of everything,” says Sticco, who earns a certificate in disaster management with with his MPH degree. “Not only am I able to see what others are doing with their public health degree, but being involved in big projects for a company like this, seeing them grow, has been a great way for me to learn. the amount of work required by the private health sector”.