Category Archives: PROspective

7 Movies and TV shows Epidemiologists Should Watch

Category : PROspective

Written by: Nafis Khan and Veronika Laird

This post was originally published on January 30, 2022, and is being republished in January 2023.

If you’re like me, when winter hits you know the best place to be is inside. It gets dark earlier, everything is kind of dreary, plus all you want to do is take a nap. Some of my go to remedies for wintertime blues are tasty soup recipes, reading books (Re: 8 Books Every Epidemiologist Should Read), and watching TV. The cool thing about TV shows and movies is there are so many of them, and with the pandemic (and the emergence of omicron) there is so much time to find new ones. Now personally, I would rather catch up on the latest Netflix series than watch another zoom lecture. I may feel bad in the moment but there are tons of great shows and movies centered around public health to help me rationalize that decision. While some may be a bit more educational than others, I always like to tell myself that these programs depict the real world application of what I would be learning about anyways (Right??). Here are some cool shows and movies that I have stumbled across:

Andromeda Strain

  • After a U.S. military satellite lands in a rural town in Arizona, a deadly contagion kills everyone except two survivors. It soon begins spreading across the country as the military begins to quarantine the area while a small, secured team of highly specialized scientists are assembled. Their task is to find a cure and intervention for the pathogen named “Andromeda”. This initially was a book written by Michael Crichton, who is also the author of Jurassic Park, and became adapted into a limited TV series that was nominated for 7 Primetime Emmys.


    • A classic movie that got a lot of attention when the pandemic first began. It centers on a woman returning home from a business trip in Hong Kong only to pass away two days later back home in Minnesota. Shortly after, many others start to show the same symptoms and it quickly becomes a pandemic. While this film highlights the roles of epidemiologists, including EIS officers, virologists, and other scientists, it also considers the role of the media and misinformation. This movie is believed to be one of the more accurate infectious disease movies available to viewers.

Rise of Planet of the Apes

    • While some may not consider this a movie that highlights infectious diseases, it focuses on the animal-human interface and the importance of that relationship. A business has been testing their potential Alzheimer’s cure on various primates in their lab. After developing a gaseous version of a drug that is supposed to help with Alzheimer’s disease, a member of the company becomes sick and sneezes blood onto another colleague. It quickly spreads around the globe leading to a pandemic. (SPOILER ALERT) It isn’t until the second movie that we discover the biological origins of the drug and that it was derived from primates; making it a zoonotic disease.

World War Z

    • Following the outbreak of a mysterious and highly infectious disease, Brad Pitt’s Gerry Lane travels the world to identify the origins and a cure to this disease. What quickly becomes apparent to Lane is that this disease transforms those it infects into a zombie-like creature. While this movie may be a bit more intense than the traditional EIS officer deployment, it does show topics of disease transmission, public health policy, and the collaborative efforts on which epidemiologic work is built on. It also highlights the creativity sometimes needed when investigating an outbreak.

Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak

    • A docu-series that may be too on the nose to watch during an actual pandemic, Pandemic covers a range of topics such as a potential influenza pandemic, vaccine research, and threats of emerging viruses. Released just before the COVID-19 pandemic, the documentary follows doctors, other healthcare professionals, and anti-vaxxers for their insight into human health and the ecological effects of society.

Erin Brockovich

    • Based on a true story, the movie follows Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts) on an investigation into the misconduct of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) that led to the carcinogenic groundwater contamination of Hinkley, CA. The movie depicts the litigious applications of an epidemiologic study. Showing how study data can be used to enact change, this movie captures the real world impact of epidemiology. Understanding the applications and effects of epidemiologic principles is important to know why a study or investigation is necessary.

Hopefully some of these movies or TV shows caught your eye. Even if you are stressing over exams, APEs, theses/capstone, etc. it is important to take some time to yourself and unwind. While these options offer insight into public health practice, there are tons of other options that are just as great. If we missed any, comment your favorite public health movies or shows.


Veronika is a Second-Year MPH student in the Global Epidemiology Program interested in researching zoonotic diseases. She studied integrative biology with a minor in chemistry and global health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in their honors program.

Nafis is a 2nd Year Epidemiology MPH student. He is from Morrisville, PA and got his B.S in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Penn State University in 2018. When not in class you can catch Nafis hiking around Northern Georgia or finding other ways to stay active.

Featured Image by Denise Jans on Unsplash

Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions this Semester

Category : PROspective

Welcome back to Rollins for the new year and new semester! We hope you have had some time to relax and take a step back from schoolwork for a few weeks. As the new year begins, you have probably set out on many new personal, professional, and academic aspirations and resolutions for yourselves. Self-improvement is always good, but can be very challenging. Here are some tips on creating healthy long-term change this semester that you can follow through on.

  1. Understand the behavior you want to change and why you stick to your old habits. If you are trying to stop procrastinating this semester, think personally about why it is that you do this. Is it because you work well under a time limit? Could it be because you forget about major tasks until someone else reminds you? Is it because you are a perfectionist and won’t start on a task that you don’t believe you will be able to do perfectly? Is it because you have a poorly planned personal schedule and have little free time to get ahead of your work? All of these problems have different roots, and will need to be addressed by different solutions. These solutions could include getting a planner, working with a study group, having an accountability partner, or countless other actions, but you need to do some self-reflection first to determine which one will work for you.
  2. Set ambitious goals and break the down into small steps. You might be averse to setting big goals that seem unrealistic to you. Many people discourage these big dreams because they think that they have to accomplish them all at once. Start by making small progress toward your goal, and you will often be able to reach it after creating these habits over time. Here is some advice from Harvard Health: 
    1. “Just getting to first base can build your confidence to tackle — and succeed at — more difficult tasks. Don’t disdain easy choices. If you start every plan with ‘Make list,’ you’re guaranteed to check one box off quickly. That’s no joke: a study on loyalty programs that aim to motivate consumers found giving people two free punches on a frequent-buyer card encouraged repeat business. So break hard jobs down into smaller line items, and enjoy breezing through the easy tasks first.”
  3. Keep track of your progress. Keep a journal or a whiteboard and record all your progress toward the goals you set this semester! Creating this visual aid will keep you on track and make it harder to forget about your goals or disregard them after just a few days or weeks. 
  4. Reward yourself. Don’t wait until you have accomplished some big task to let yourself feel accomplished. Your goal behaviors are incremental, and you should celebrate every step you make toward positive change. This will keep you motivated, excited, and proud of yourself. 

Reflecting on Your Goals for This Semester

Category : PROspective

At the very beginning of this semester, Emory’s Office of Health Promotion shared some advice with us regarding habits to develop in order to have the most successful semester possible. Now that our time on campus this semester is coming to an end and we are nearing finals, it is time to reflect on our personal progress. Did you accomplish the goals you intended to accomplish this year? Have your study habits been working for you, or are there ways you can improve? There is still time to become aware of any room that you have for improvement and end your semester on a positive note. Return to this article from a few months ago as finals begin.

Written by Kaylan Ware

After being away from your studies for the summer, it can be difficult to reestablish a routine that works for you. Incorporating daily practices that boost your mood and productivity early in the semester can increase your chances of developing good habits. Start by considering what’s important to you this school year, then try using these strategies to improve your productivity, balance, and well-being.

  1. Set intentions. Identify your values and goals this year. This does not have to be school related. Let’s say you want to learn a new skill or spend more time with friends. Decide on actionable steps to attain your intentions and reinforce your intentions daily by reflecting on them. It helps to write your intentions down and place them somewhere you’re likely to look.

Here’s an example of an intention: “This school year, I want to engage in at least three co- curricular activities.”

  1. Set daily goals. Either in the morning or the night before, reflect on all you want to get done in your day. Make a list and check items off as you complete them. Include smaller tasks like washing clothes and larger, more time-consuming tasks like finishing a presentation for class. This helps you maintain a realistic schedule for your day, giving you an idea of the amount of time you will dedicate to certain tasks and how much free time you may have.
  2. Make sleep a priority. A poor sleep schedule can affect your mood, ability to cope with stress, your ability to concentrate and more. To begin prioritizing sleep, it would help to establish a regular sleep schedule and create a bedtime routine. Consider what your busiest day looks like and think about how many hours of sleep you’d like to get. Aim for 7-9 hours if possible. Having a bedtime routine may include showering, reading a book or meditating. Your routine can help relax your body and mind before bed. Be sure to limit screen time, too!
  3. Practice mindfulness. There are so many ways to practice mindfulness. Deep breathing, yoga, coloring, and journaling are all activities where mindful strategies are present. Mindfulness activities can help increase emotional awareness and decrease stress and anxiety. Add mindful moments throughout your week by focusing on your breath, observing your thoughts, listening actively, and observing your surroundings using all five senses.
  4. Take a break. It can be overwhelming to consider pausing when you have assignments piling up and due dates approaching, but it is important to utilize breaks to rest and take care of yourself to enhance focus and performance. Build breaks into your schedule to rest and reset so you can tackle your next tasks reenergized. If you need help deciding what to do during a 30-second break or even an hour-long break, visit Campus Life’s Take a Break webpage for inspiration and resources.

Remember to be intentional about incorporating these strategies and practices into your everyday life. Sometimes it can be difficult to stick with an activity long enough to make it a habit. Try finding an accountability partner – a friend, classmate, or mentor – that will check-in and help motivate you to achieve your goals.

Also, check out the Office of Health Promotion’s Instagram page (@EmoryOHP) for wellness tips and programs!

Kaylan Ware is a 2nd year Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences student at Rollins with interests in health communication, health equity, and chronic disease prevention. She works as the Health Communications Graduate Assistant in Emory’s Office of Health Promotion.

Tips for a Safe and Healthy Thanksgiving

Category : PROspective

Thanksgiving can be a stressful time of year for everyone. Whether you are hosting your first Thanksgiving, coordinating travel plans, interacting with difficult family members, or staying in Atlanta and missing your family, everyone is facing a unique situation this week. Here are some tips to enjoy a safe and healthy Thanksgiving this year no matter where you are.

  1. Be public health conscious as you travel. If you are flying this week, make sure to wear a mask at the airport and on your flights, and socially distance where possible! Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face or any possibly contaminated objects. Bring hand sanitizer to use throughout the airport where washing your hands is not an option. This is a busy time for travel, especially at the Atlanta airport, and it is our public health duty to do our part in keeping everyone healthy. Now is the time to get your COVID-19 booster and flu shots if you have not already done so! You can schedule both of these through Emory Student Health Services.
  2. Try to keep your gatherings as COVID and flu – friendly as possible. Consider adapting your Thanksgiving gathering plans to accommodate for your most vulnerable family members or friends who may be attending. This could mean hosting an outdoor gathering, bringing your own utensils/plates/etc, or setting health and safety expectations with guests ahead of time. Read more tips from the Georgia Department of Health here
  3. Volunteer in your community. Another way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to volunteer in various ways in the community. If you are staying in Atlanta and are unsure of what your plans might be this year, consider spending your time with one of the dozens of organizations looking for volunteers this week! You can find many of these opportunities here.
  4. Have difficult conversations. Public health and epidemiology have become increasingly common topics in the news over the past few years. You may have family members who are suddenly experts in COVID conspiracy theories or share other absurd health-related opinions. Do your best to stay patient when these topics are brought up, and try to understand where their opinions come from. As public health students, this will not be the last time we will have to have these frustrating conversations in our lives, so it is best to be patient and get used to conversations like these. Address any misinformation they have and provide scientific evidence to support your statements. You can find more tips for navigating these difficult conversations here.

The Many Roads to Federal Service at CDC

Category : PROspective

Written By: Robert Merritt

This post was originally published on March 13, 2022.

I have been fortunate to serve as an Adjunct Faculty member at RSPH since 2001 where I teach the Introduction to the US Health Care System Course (HPM 500). Adjunct faculty members are part-time faculty members who bring expertise from their professions to the classroom. In my case, my career at CDC has spanned over 34 years where my current responsibilities include tracking trends in cardiovascular risk factors and diseases and engaging in epidemiologic and health services research to support evidence-based practice, policies, and programs.

When students learn about my career at CDC, I am often asked two questions: how did you end up working at CDC and how can I get a job at CDC? The answer to the first question warrants a separate blog entry, so I will focus on the second. Based upon my experience as a hiring manager at CDC, I would like to review the most common and effective paths to landing a position at CDC:

Pre-Employment, Fellowship and Training Programs (a.k.a. “Getting Your Foot in the Door”)

There are a variety of internship, fellowship, and training opportunities at CDC (Fellowships and Training Opportunities Home Page | CDC).

CDC actively participates in two community engaged learning programs sanctioned by the RSPH, i.e., the Applied Practice Experience Program (APE) and the Rollins Earn and Learn (REAL) Program. These are important practical learning experiences and are often a prospective employee’s first experience with the agency. CDC also has an Epidemiology Elective Program (EEP) for medical students to experience applied epidemiology through a hands-on experience and mentorship by CDC subject matter expert. Only MD/MPH, MD/MSPH, MD/PHD or equivalent students are eligible (Epidemiology Elective Program | CDC). My division utilizes these three frequently. These are frequently utilized across CDC.

STEM Internships and Fellowships, typically referred to as ORISE Fellowships (Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education) (STEM Internships and Fellowships – ORISE (, are frequently used by CDC and offer a good introductory experience for masters and doctoral degree job seekers. These fellowships often immerse the individual into important programmatic and priority areas at CDC. These positions often lead to opportunities to better compete for more permanent FTE positions or contractor positions. CDC recruits many fellows from this program.

The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is a two-year leadership development and training program for advanced degree candidates (i.e., Master’s, Doctoral, and Juris Doctorate). The goal of the program is for fellows to have the opportunity to work in different areas in the federal government before converting into a permanent/career-conditional position at the end of their two years. Detailed information on the PMF Program at CDC: Overview | Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program | CDC. Although this program is very competitive, RSPH had many PMF candidates accepted into the program last year that matched with CDC.

The Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) is a highly competitive, 2-year post-graduate fellowship in applied epidemiology. This CDC program is a unique combination of on-the-job-learning and service. Investigating outbreaks in the field is integral to the EIS experience (Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Home Page | CDC). Emory graduates have competed well for these positions and many EIS graduates remain at CDC.

The CDC Steven M. Teutsch Prevention Effectiveness (PE) Fellowship (Prevention Effectiveness Fellowship Program | CDC) and the Public Health Informatics Fellowship Program (PHIFP) (Public Health Informatics Fellowship Program (PHIFP)|CDC) are also 2-year post-graduate fellowships. Due to the high demand for these skill sets, many graduates remain at CDC.

Finally, CDC may also consider volunteer (guest researcher) positions for students not participating in these two programs. These volunteer positions, although less common, are established by mutual agreement of the CDC office and the individual student. These are non-paid and are often a by-product of professional networking.

We intentionally utilize these as recruitment opportunities to identify future applicants for full-time employment opportunities when they graduate or complete these programs (see Full-Time Employment below).

Securing Full-Time Employment

Full-time employment in the Federal Government takes many forms with each having very specific requirements, such as citizenship, academic training, work experience, criminal history, etc. There are three main avenues for full-time equivalent (FTE) positions: Title 5, Title 42, and Commissioned Corps.

The most desired positions are permanent Title 5 and represent most of the jobs posted on the USA Jobs and CDC Websites (USAJOBS – The Federal Government’s official employment site and Careers Home | Careers at CDC | CDC). These positions often attract hundreds of applicants and may take months to fill. These websites also list temporary and term-limited positions. Make sure you note whether the positions you are applying for are permanent or term-limited (temporary). My advice is to apply to as many of these positions that you are interested in and qualified for. I cannot stress the importance of reviewing these postings carefully for the qualifications and other requirements. Follow the instructions exactly. Most, if not all, of these positions are restricted to US Citizens only.

There are also FTE positions where both US Citizens and Non-citizens are eligible. These are Service Fellowships (Title 42) based upon your level of education and professional experience.  These are categorized as Distinguished, Senior, or Associate Service Fellows. There are not technically permanent but can be renewed every five years with no limit on the number of renewals. Benefits and years of service calculations are very similar to Title 5 employees. There are many federal employees that have remained a Title 42 employee their entire career.

The USPHS Commissioned Corps is one of the nation’s uniformed services — a branch committed to the service of health. Officers advance our nation’s public health, serving in agencies across the government, as physicians, nurses, dentists, veterinarians, scientists, engineers, and other professionals. CDC actively employees USPHS Commissioned Corps Officers (Explore Opportunities | Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (

Simply put, there are many roads to Federal service and careers at CDC. There is no one process or strategy that stands out. However, I would argue for the “PPF Approach,” i.e., patience, persistence, and flexibility. The journey is never fast and may take a different path, or combination of paths, than you first imagined.


Robert Merritt is a graduate of Washington and Lee University, Emory University and The University of the South (Sewanee) where he received academic training in sociology & anthropology, medical sociology, public health, and research methods & statistics.  His research career has spanned over 30 years with positions at the Smithsonian Institution (SI), Emory University, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  He is currently working as a health scientist in the Division for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention (DHDSP) at CDC. 

Featured Image by Truman Adrian Lobato De Faria on Unsplash

Maximizing Your Civic Engagement This Election Season

Category : PROspective

You have probably been hearing about tomorrow’s upcoming election for months on end from various student organizations, community members, family, and friends. Civic engagement is a very important part of public health, and it is vital that we engage positively with our community here during our time at Emory. The day has finally almost arrived, so here are some resources you can use to maximize your positive impact on the community even if you are not a registered voter here in Atlanta.

  1. Learn more about the election here. Make sure you know what issues are on the ballot this year, and become familiar with the candidates that you would like to vote for. It is never too late to start researching these topics so you can make the most informed decisions possible. You can also find your polling place, view a sample ballot, or check the status of a mail-in ballot all in the same portal. Make sure to read through this information ahead of time so everything goes smoothly tomorrow!
  2. Make a plan to vote in person. If you haven’t voted yet and you are eligible to vote in Georgia, find a time to get to your polling place tomorrow to cast your vote. If you have already voted or are not eligible to vote in Georgia, help out your friends and neighbors who need a ride to their polling place. Make plans to carpool or walk together, or help them 
  3. Volunteer with Rollins-Teer Service Day. Classes will be held asynchronously tomorrow, so you may use your extra free time during the day to volunteer at various organizations around Atlanta. This is a great way to engage with the community, especially if you aren’t eligible to vote. Search your inbox for reminders of these volunteer opportunities! 
  4. Register to vote for a potential run-off election. A runoff election may occur if no candidate wins the required majority of votes. This election would take place on December 6 in Georgia. If you missed the registration deadline for tomorrow’s election, it is still not too late to register to vote in the runoff. You have until the end of day today (11/7) to register in person or mail in the registration form found here.

Making the Most of Your Public Service Opportunity

Category : PROspective

As a continuation of his last two articles, Robert Merritt talks about how to make the most of your career in public services.  To read his previous article “The Many Roads to Federal Service at CDC” click here and to read his article “An Accidental Career in Public Health” click hereThis article was originally published in April 2022. 

Written by: Robert Merritt

One of my responsibilities as a senior scientist and manager at CDC is to foster the development of young professionals. I take this very seriously and encourage all my peers to do the same. I’d like to offer some thoughts and advice to those of you that might be considering a career in public service. Although these are drawn from my work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they would also apply to work at a variety of other public federal, state, or local agencies (and even many non-profit organizations).

First and foremost, remember: “It’s not about you.”

Public service is focused on others. Currently, the public sector is, without a doubt, a very challenging place to work. Intense scrutiny, vocal criticism, unpredictable resources, and volatile politics will test your mettle, sheer will, and selfless service every day. It is work that aims to support the general welfare and needs of all citizens. This career choice is not about money or fame, but about understanding where we are as a society and how to make it better in some meaningful way. It has been said that public servants have some core qualities (or attributes) that enable them to successfully navigate and contribute to public service. These, in my opinion, are willingness to learn, desire to help others, and an ability to engage people.

Will to Learn

The fact that most of us have (or will soon have) a graduate degree does not negate the need for lifelong learning. Common sense dictates that continuous quality learning is important to every endeavor – especially professional development and success. Therefore, eagerness and craving for new information are essential. To make a positive difference, you should seek to constantly refresh your understanding and learn to adapt to change. My experience is that knowledge and the half-life of knowledge (the length of time that knowledge stays active and accurate) diminish over time.

I strongly urge each new member of my team to seek as many opportunities to learn as they can. What does this mean? Don’t just sit idle and inwardly reflect on your newly acquired book knowledge! Apply your knowledge, skills, and abilities by actively engaging and putting them to practical use! Get to know your colleagues and their expertise through informational meetings. Learn about emerging and new priorities by attending seminars and grand rounds. Join a journal club or community of practice (COP) on a topic of interest. Register for some of the hundreds of training courses sponsored by the agency.

To be successful, you need to be adept at lifelong learning and understand that what you learn now may not be the same in the future – so you need to keep ahead of the curve. Make yourself as informed, well-rounded, and observant of the world as possible.

Make a Difference

The public sector exists to bring services to people, so those working as public servants should have a strong desire to work on behalf of others. As advocates for positive change, leaders in public service know that their positions come with a profound sense of duty. Every public servant has an important role to play, whether they serve as executives, administrators, project officers, program officials, medical officers, epidemiologists, health scientists, or statisticians.

Therefore, the best route to accountability is through public sector professionals who really dedicate themselves to making a difference. We need to invest in the people of our civil service system by developing their skills and strengthening their standards, so they understand the real importance of good governance and the critical role of accountability. The key to future, continued good governance and accountability lies in the way in which we recruit, train, develop, manage, and lead our future public servants. In the end, we are accountable to the citizens we serve.

Engage Others

Public service is not a solo exercise. It’s a team sport. If you want to make a difference in the public sector, you must be ready to include and engage others as part of your work. Think beyond your own organizational perspective and look at things from the viewpoint of our citizens, including (but not limited to) taxpayers, legislators, grantees (city, county, state, tribal, territorial health departments), voluntary and non-government organizations, other Federal agencies, and global partners.

I realized early in my career that the more connections one makes, the more opportunities present themselves. Public service (especially at CDC) is an area in which employees are encouraged to continuously develop professionally. Therefore, creating a wide-reaching professional network opens many doors, simply by establishing relationships with others.

At my agency, I advise participating in meetings scheduled by your immediate group of colleagues (supervisor, team leader, and branch chief), Division, Center, or Agency; employee organizations and associations (there are over 30); workgroups (there are 12); and/or other advisory groups, boards, committees, and councils (there are over 10). Get involved and put yourself out there!

Ultimately, it is entirely what you make of it: if you do not make the effort to develop professionally, your experience will not be as beneficial as it could be. With the right experience and research, you can change your life–and help others at the same time!

Robert Merritt is a graduate of Washington and Lee University, Emory University, and The University of the South (Sewanee) where he received academic training in sociology & anthropology, medical sociology, public health, and research methods & statistics.  His research career has spanned over 30 years with positions at the Smithsonian Institution (SI), Emory University, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  He is currently working as a health scientist in the Division for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention (DHDSP) at CDC. 

Featured Image by Mukuko Studio on Unsplash

Reorganizing your life during the busy semester

Category : PROspective

Do you feel overwhelmed with schoolwork and other responsibilities right now? For many students, balancing midterms, work, volunteering, and personal responsibilities can be incredibly overwhelming at times.  It can be hard to balance everything you have to do during this busy time of year. However, developing a few key strategies to manage your time can significantly reduce this stress, leading to better academic outcomes and personal health and wellness. Here are a few tips to help you manage your time this week:

  1. Plan ahead and stay organized. Create a schedule for yourself and stick to it. This can be a rough weekly schedule, or a detailed and specific daily routine written each day. Establishing these patterns in our work can help us be more productive in the long run.
  2. Know your strengths. If you know that you do not perform well under pressure, make sure to schedule enough time to work on something before a deadline. Leave yourself enough time to ask for help or work with others. If you know that you do perform well under pressure, you can take advantage of this while still giving yourself enough time to produce your best work. Not everyone has the same strengths, so don’t feel bad if your work habits don’t match up to your peers! Establishing your own checkpoints with hard deadlines within a task can help you play to your own strengths.
  3. Take advantage of short periods of free time. You don’t always have to accomplish large tasks every day. Using five minutes of time each day to complete small parts of a large project will still help you reach your goal, and you will appreciate the time you save in the long run when you are finally able to sit down and focus on the large task at hand. 
  4. Make to-do lists. It is important to have a visual reminder of the work you need to do. In addition to this, checking off boxes on a to-do list is always satisfying and can provide you the sense of accomplishment you need to keep going.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. No matter how well you manage your time, there will always only be 24 hours in a day. Sometimes you will have to prioritize the most important tasks in your routine and delegate the rest to others. It is important to set boundaries and let people know when they are taking advantage of your time or overburdening you with responsibilities. 
  6. Take care of yourself. There is nothing better you can do for yourself than making sure you stay safe and healthy while working on a task. This can mean taking breaks to go on refreshing walks or getting coffee, or even doing your remote work in natural spaces like a park or your backyard. Remember, it doesn’t do you any good to overwork yourself, and you are capable of accomplishing everything you need to do this week!

Reaching Your Goals: A Mid-Semester Check-In

Category : PROspective

By: Veronika Laird

As the hot summer finally begins to transition to a cooler fall, many of us start to feel the weight of the semester on our shoulders. We’ve taken midterms, some of us are digging deep into our theses, finally getting used to a new job, or just trying to make it to Thanksgiving break. While midsemester can be stressful, it’s also a time to think about how strong you want to finish the year. It’s a good time to check-in with yourself and set goals for how you want this chapter of the school year to end.

              We’ll soon be receiving midterm grades and other forms of constructive criticism which can help us set achievable goals for the next two months before winter break. Creating goals for yourself not only helps you measure your progress, but they 1) hold you accountable and 2) provide you a “destination”.

              It’s safe to say that many Rollins students are tenacious and driven, but don’t we all want to do well in our classes and jobs? Maybe even exceed expectations? Who is in control of that? YOU.  But first, we have to set realistic, short-term goals and keep ourselves accountable for trying to achieve them. I think this happens easily when we think about the “final destination”.  This semester a goal I set for myself is to finish writing components of my thesis manuscript. In the beginning this seemed daunting. I would often and still do close my eyes when I think about this goal, and I imagine the final product or “final destination”. For me I see a word document filled with citations, tables and figures, and my name at the very top. This strategy is very helpful to mentally think about your end goal and then start taking steps to achieving it.

              To start taking steps toward achieving your goal, you must make a plan. First, you want to do small tasks that lead up to achieving your short-term goal–accomplishments don’t happen overnight. Second, you must make time to work on these tasks and create time in your calendar for them. Thirdly, we touched on how important accountability is and it’s important to check-in with yourself or a friend who also knows the goal you are working towards. This creates time to celebrate your achievement or reflect on why you may not have reached your end goal. Finally, it’s okay if you didn’t complete your goal–we can all grow from our disappointments. What is important is to find where you may have let yourself down and understand how that can be remedied for next time.

              Lastly, a key component to following-through on your goals is knowing yourself. What motivates you to get out of bed every morning and come to class or work? Remember that you didn’t have to choose this career. You didn’t have to come to graduate school. Why did you? If you remind yourself of your “why” each time you are working towards your dreams and goals, it can help you push through the hard times. Don’t forget that there’s always support along the way from your peers and faculty. You have nothing to lose, so reach for the stars.


Veronika is a Second-Year MPH student in the Global Epidemiology Program interested in researching zoonotic diseases. She studied integrative biology with a minor in chemistry and global health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in their honors program.




Featured Image by Ronnie Overgoor on Unsplash


This post was originally published on October 17, 2021. 

Civic Engagement Resources and Tips from REDI

Category : PROspective

Written by: Rollins Election Day Initiative (REDI) student representatives 

One reason that many voters, especially young voters, list for not turning out to vote is a feeling like “their vote doesn’t matter.” After all, when races are determined by tens of thousands of votes, why would one vote make a difference? While that may feel like the case in non-swing states and less competitive elections, Georgia is currently in two of the closest and most competitive federal election races nation-wide and has been a major player in federal and state politics for the past several races. The last midterm season, 2018, saw the closest gubernatorial election in Georgia in sixty years and those same two candidates are facing off again this midterm season (Brian Kemp (R), Stacy Abrams (D)). Moreover, we are also hosting the nail-biting senate race against incumbent Raphael Warnock (D) and challenger Herschel Walker (R). There’s a lot going on!

Voting is an integral step in the epidemiology cycle. The incredible evidence that our community contributes to understanding the determinants of health can be actioned by voting for state and local candidates that will fight for policies that we hope will better the health of our community. 

The reality is that it is not easy to vote, especially in Georgia, so REDI is determined to help make the process as easy as possible for our community. If you would like easy access to ballot information as well as information on your polling place or voter registration, swing by one of the Rolins Election Day Initiative (REDI) tables in the next couple of weeks.  Additionally, while voting is definitely the most important way to participate in an election, it is not the only way to be involved in civic engagement. Leading up to November 8th, we will be posting volunteer opportunities on how you can be more involved during this election cycle and during Rollins Day On, so follow us on Instagram at @emory.REDI !

Here are some resources: 

Q) When is the deadline to register to vote in Georgia? 

October 11th! So swing by a REDI voter drive table over the next few weeks to apply for an absentee or register in GA!

Q) I’m already registered to vote in another state, can I register to vote in Georgia?

Yes! While you may not vote in multiple states, you may be registered to vote in multiple states.

Q) I just moved to Georgia for school- am I eligible to vote in Georgia?

Yes!  If you are an in-person student at Emory, even if you have an out-of-state ID, you are eligible to vote in Georgia (you just have to register). 

If you have a Georgia driver’s license or state ID, you can register online:

If you do not have a Georgia ID, you can use to link below to fill out your information online but you must print the completed registration, sign and date the application and deliver it by mail or in person to your local county registrar’s office.

Q) How do I check / update my Georgia voter registration? 

  • Go to and enter your name, birthdate and county 
  •  Make any updates to your info by October 11 
  •  Contact your if you have trouble.

Q) What’s on the ballot this year? 

Enter your address and find out what your specific ballot measures are:

Upcoming Events

  • Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Seminar February 2, 2023 at 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm RRR-RL20 Event Type: Seminar SeriesSeries: Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics SeminarSpeaker: Emma Zhang, PhDContact Name: Porchia Coleman-ArnoldContact Email: Porchia.Arnold@emory.eduDepartment of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Seminar Series, Guest Speaker Emma Zhang, PhD.
  • EPI x HPM Mixer: Jeopardy Night February 8, 2023 at 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm RRR_RL20 Event Type: Student EventEvent exclusive for students in the EPI and HPM department. Pizza and soda will be provided. Students from the two departments will go head to head to win at the game of Jeopardy.
  • ABPHS Undergraduate Public Health Pipeline Panel/Mixer February 13, 2023 at 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm 8th Floor R Randall Rollins Event Type: Networking,Student Event,Career EventSpeaker: Varied Panelist; Students and Faculty at RollinsEvent to expose Black/African American undergraduate students to various paths within public health. Black/African American students and faculty at Rollins are encouraged to attend for networking and fellowship.

Follow Us on Social Media: