Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI
Meet Erin LaFon! Erin is one of the epidemiology department’s two student representatives. Erin is a rising second year Epidemiology MPH Candidate with interests in zoonotic and emerging infectious disease. Erin’s role as a student representative gives students the chance to voice their feedback on student life and their experienes at RSPH. We took the opportunity to get to know her, her interests and what she’s doing this summer.
Tell us about your academic history/where you went to school.
I completed a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University in 2018, and then I completed a Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine with a concentration in Veterinary Forensics from the University of Florida in 2021.
What are your primary research interests?
My primary research interests are zoonotic and emerging infectious diseases.
Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?
I’m looking at the phylogenetics of Powassan Virus for my thesis. I’m also working with Emory’s School of Medicine on a database that looks at “long-hauler” neurologic symptoms as a result of COVID-19 and another project dealing with Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?
It has definitely been the connections that I’ve made with other students across all the departments.
When applying, what were you looking for in a public health school, and what factors drove you to pick Rollins?
One of the biggest factors for me was the proximity to Florida. My family is there, and being in Georgia allows for me to travel home for holidays easily.
What has been your favorite class at Rollins thus far, and why?
EPI 544 (Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases) was great! It was super interesting to listen to guest lectures and learn about all the different diseases. The course is taught by two CDC employees, and it was really great to hear about their careers.
What advice do you have for 1st years?
Get involved in something. It makes grad school more fun, and it lets you meet more people in other departments.
How have you been spending your free time?
I’ve been spending it reading, hiking and travelling.
What is one place that you would recommend people to visit?
I definitely recommend making the drive to Tallulah Gorge if you like hiking! It was a great experience!
What are three fun facts that you’d like people to know about you?
- I have two dogs, two snakes, a leopard gecko, and a bunny that all live in Georgia with me.
- I lived in St. Kitts and Nevis for a few months.
- I used to breed ball pythons, leopard geckos, and crested geckos.
Thanks for talking with us, Erin! Tune in next time to meet the next student that we introduce!