Category Archives: #WeAreEmoryEPI

#WeAreEmoryEpi: Meet Paige Harton

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Paige is a second-year Master’s student interested in emerging infectious diseases and public health preparedness, and during the pandemic she has been working with Dr. Allison Chamberlain. We chatted with her about her project with Dr. Chamberlain and more!

 


 

Tell us a little bit about your academic history/where you went to school.

I graduated from Kansas State University in December 2015 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. I currently am second year EPI MPH student planning to graduate this coming May.

 

 

What are your primary research interests?

I am primarily interested in emerging infectious diseases and public health preparedness.

 

 

How have you been navigating the work (& learn) from home experience during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Having a designated study space in my apartment has really helped adjust to the primarily remote working and learning environment. I also make a concerted effort to talk a walk in the park near our apartment as many days as possible.

 

 

Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

I am currently working with Dr. Allison Chamberlain on a survey of Georgians regarding their perceptions of masks, testing, and a potential COVID-19 vaccine. I am excited to analyze this data for my thesis project!

 

 

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?

From the faculty and staff to the fellow students I have gotten to know, the people have truly been the best part of my experience at Emory. The collaborative environment has allowed me to grow both personally and professionally.

 

 

What advice do you have for 1st year MPH Students?

Try everything! If you think you may be interested in something, try it out! You won’t know until you do, and it could lead you to pursue a career in a focus area you hadn’t previously considered.

 

 

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to? 

I have just started “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens, and I am usually catching up on the “Crime Junkie” podcast.

 

 

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

1) My husband, Gordon, and I adopted an Australian Shepherd puppy named Duke at the beginning of the pandemic!

2) I love to bake, especially when I’m stressed. So if you’re in the market for baked goods, I’m your girl.

3) I’m left-handed, and in my immediate family 3/6 of us are left-handed.

 


 

Thanks again to Paige for introducing herself! Check back next week for another #WeAreEmoryEPI feature!


#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet Kyle Lester

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Kyle Lester is a second-year Epi student doing research on HIV prevention and treatment, along with working on the COVID-19 Outbreak Response Team with Dr. Jodie Guest. He told us more about his current projects, his experience at Rollins, and some fun facts about himself! 

 


 

Tell us a little bit about your academic history/where you went to school.

I initially entered the workforce after my freshman year of college and put myself through my undergrad while working full-time. I graduated from Georgia Southern University while working in healthcare for five years.

 

 

What are your primary research interests?

My research interests are HIV prevention and treatment. I specifically want to focus on MSM prevention methods and interventions, including PrEP and new injectable, long-term PrEP trials.

 

 

How have you been navigating the work (& learn) from home experience during the COVID-19 outbreak?

During the COVID-19 outbreak, I’ve been navigating the working from home experience by making sure to establish a work-life balance. I’ve devoted specific days and hours towards my academic life while making sure to schedule in time for my personal life and going off the grid. I find that establishing a schedule has been extremely beneficial to keep up with my mental health and my progress on the right path. I think while there are always exceptions, maintaining a regimen and consistent schedule has proven to be extremely effective in getting me through these bizarre times.

 

 

Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

The most exciting project I’m working on right now happens to be the COVID-19 Outbreak Response Team at Emory. It’s a team that consists of eight of my classmates and myself, led by Dr. Jodie Guest. We have worked all throughout the summer, and continue to work in providing COVID-19 testing, education, and community outreach to underserved communities in Georgia. We have provided over a thousand COVID-19 tests to members of our community, and continue building strong partnerships with the faces behind all those numbers we see on PowerPoint slides.

 

 

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?

My favorite part about earning my MPH at Emory is the real world experience our professors bring to the classroom. We are so fortunate to have professors that have practiced exactly what they teach and can provide us with relevant, up-to-date information and experience that will shape our education and careers.

 

 

What advice do you have for 1st year MPH Students?

My advice for first-year MPH students is simple: relax, take a deep breath, and pursue your passions. Public Health is one of the greatest fields to work in, and whatever your passion is, you need to pursue it, because there will always be people in need of your help. Don’t worry as much about your degree, and focus more on what you are going to do with it once you graduate. The relationships and partnerships you build now are going to impact you greatly in your future.

 

 

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

The newest book I just started is The Ghost Map, which is about the cholera outbreak in Victorian London. It focuses on the 1854 cholera outbreak, which involved the work of John Snow, one of our founders of epidemiology. The book to me is interesting because it involves good old fashioned disease detectives and the origin of modern epidemiology as we know it.

 

 

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

Three fun facts that I want people to know about me would be, I’m going to go to Tokyo for the Summer Olympics next year, I’ve almost been to every state, and I love sour beers!

 


 

Thanks again to Kyle for chatting with us this week! Tune in next week for another #WeAreEmoryEPI spotlight!


#WeAreEmoryEpi: Meet Paul Elish

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Paul Elish is a second-year MPH student interested in chronic disease and spatial epi. He told us more about the research projects is involved in both stateside and internationally, along with his favorite parts about studying at Rollins and his hobbies during the pandemic months!

 


 

Tell us a little bit about your academic history/where you went to school.

I did my undergrad degree at Yale with a double major in Latin American Studies and biology.

 

 

What are your primary research interests?

I’m interested in chronic disease epidemiology, spatial epi, and implementation science. I really enjoy exploring the intersection between public health and sociology.

 

 

How have you been navigating the work (& learn) from home experience during the COVID-19 outbreak?

I’ve been finding new ways to stay connected with friends. Some favs: doing New Yorker crosswords on partner mode and doing a workout challenge that a friend and I turned into a virtual board game. Also, shoutout to my amazing, unstoppable Rollins Biketober team 😀

 

 

Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

I’m excited about my thesis with my faculty mentor, Julie Gazmararian, that’s exploring associations between physical activity and academic achievement among elementary schoolers in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Gwinnett is extremely interesting because of its incredible diversity and importance as a political swing county. I’ve also had the opportunity to conduct interesting analyses for the spatial epi and bias analysis courses I’m currently taking, including a spatial analysis on COVID dynamics in Peru.

 

 

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?

The Epi Department has done a great job creating an integrated epi/biostats sequence; it has been rewarding to watch our epi courses build off of each other. Also, I’ve loved getting to know amazing people across all of Rollins’ departments.

 

 

What advice do you have for 1st year MPH Students?

One of the great things about Emory is how it has so many different rigorous academic offerings, so I recommend that first-year MPH students consider exploring Emory’s other schools. I honed my French in an undergrad French class during my first semester, and it was a great way to strengthen a skill while connecting with a completely different part of Emory.

 

 

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

I’m about halfway through “The Old Drift,” a novel set in Zambia from the early 20th century to the present. It’s especially interesting to read because I spent a year working at the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia before coming to Rollins. It’s long, but the author does a great job weaving together characters from Zambia’s many ethnic groups.

 

 

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

(1) I developed a love of backpacking over the summer and really enjoyed exploring trails in Georgia and North Carolina.

(2) History has always been one of my favorite subjects, so a great way to distract me is to talk to me about something like the French Revolution, old Japanese novels, or the history of Atlanta.

(3) Last night I got chased by a wild turkey while biking near my house in Atlanta. A great, mildly-scary-but-mostly-funny reminder that Atlanta really is a city in the forest!

 


 

Thanks to Paul for taking the time to give us a peek at his background and interests! Tune back in next week for another #WeAreEmoryEPI student spotlight!


#WeAreEmoryEpi: Meet Claire Rowan

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Claire is a first-year Master’s student with an interest in emergency preparedness. We talked to her about her background, reasons for getting her MPH, and advice for future students!

 


 

Tell us a little bit about your academic history/where you went to school.

I did my undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University and majored in public health.

 

 

What are your primary research interests?

My main interest is in emergency preparedness but I’m also taking classes in infectious diseases 

 

 

How have you been navigating the work (& learn) from home experience during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The work-from-home environment has been tricky for me, especially moving to a new city/state. The main thing for me is making sure I only do school work at my desk, and can move to a different room in the evenings so that I have a distinct end to the day. I also adopted a cat from the Atlanta Humane Society this semester, and she’s significantly improving the work from home experience.

 


Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

I’m working for the Atlanta Opera as the Assistant Risk Management Coordinator – we’re having in-person rehearsals and performances and I’m helping make sure all protocols are safe and being followed. It’s been a really fun experience that I didn’t expect to have during my time at Emory.

 

 

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?

I’ve really enjoyed my classes in the fall semester. I’ve had really great professors who have been focused on not only teaching the material that I need to know, but helping their students to learn more about public health opportunities. My EH581 class, public health consequences of disasters has been a really helpful experience so far!

 

 

 What made you apply to Rollins, and what was the deciding factor?

I decided to apply to Rollins because of all of the connections, experienced faculty in my research interest and opportunities that would be available to me here. In addition, the REAL program and possible opportunities through that was finally what made the decision for me!

 

 

What tips or advice do you have for prospective students when applying and deciding on which school to attend?

My advice for prospective MPH students would be to speak to as many people as you can before applying. I’ve done as many informational interviews with public health professionals to figure out what areas of public health I might be most interested in. When I figured out that emergency preparedness was my end goal, Emory’s faculty was a major factor in my decision. 

 

 

What advice do you have for people who may be interested in getting their MPH?

My advice after a semester of pandemic classes would be to expect a lot of work, but make sure to take care of your mental health at the same time.

 

 

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

I’ve been reading The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett and listen to EM Weekly (I have a difficult time putting work down at the end of the day)

 

 

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

1. I knit so that I stay busy even when I’m sitting still.

2. I have never had a sense of smell.

3. I’m from Austin, TX and miss breakfast tacos since I’ve moved to Atlanta.

 


 

Thanks to Claire for taking the time to introduce herself! We hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!


#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet Catherine Bennett

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Catherine Bennett is a MD/MPH student involved in mental health and chronic disease research at Rollins and Emory’s School of Medicine. She was kind enough to tell us more about her current projects and other interests! 

Tell us a little bit about your academic history/where you went to school.

I graduated from Davidson College in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology and minored in French. I am currently in the dual MD/MPH program here at Emory and will graduate next May.

What are your primary research interests?

I am primarily interested in the intersection of chronic disease, serious mental illness, and the social determinants of health.

How have you been navigating the work (& learn) from home experience during the COVID-19 outbreak?

I have found that setting both a weekly and daily schedule helps me see the big picture of what I need to accomplish as well as all of the details I need to focus on for the week. I also try to get outside and take a walk as often as I can to clear my head and to step away from my computer screen.

Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

I am currently working on my APE project with Dr. David Goldsmith, a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Medicine. We are examining medical comorbidities among patients with psychotic disorders who are taking different antipsychotic medications. For my thesis, I worked with Dr. Michael Goodman in the epidemiology department and Dr. Benjamin Druss in the health policy and management department to examine the association between electronic cigarette use and psychological distress.

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?

The people! I love being surrounded by faculty members and colleagues who are kind, compassionate, humble, and brilliant, who want to use their public health knowledge for the greater good.

What advice do you have for 1st year MPH Students?

Go to lectures, lunchtime meetings, chairs’ chats, and grand rounds. The faculty at Emory have so much to offer, and you never know what might pique your research and future career interests.

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

My next book is going to be A Lab of One’s Own, a memoir about women in science. Early in the pandemic, I reread Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain.

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

1. I love to cook and bake; working through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking is my current pastime.

2. I lived in Luxembourg for a year in between college and my graduate studies and worked at the Luxembourg Institute of Health on a Fulbright Grant.

3. I love musical theater!

 


 

Thanks to Catherine for chatting with us this week! See you all next week for another edition of #WeAreEmoryEPI!


#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet Izzy Kates

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Izzy Kates is a second-year student in the Global Epidemiology program interested in infectious disease epidemiology. This week we caught up with him to learn more about his background, how he’s spent time during the pandemic, and more!

 

Tell us a little bit about your academic history/where you went to school.

I majored in Behavioral and Community Health at University of Maryland, College Park, and minored in International Development and Conflict Management.

 

 

What are your primary research interests?

I am interested in infectious disease epidemiology, One Health, and immuno-epidemiology.

 

 

How have you been navigating the work (& learn) from home experience during the COVID-19 outbreak?

It’s been difficult, not going to lie. But it helps to have my dog and a constant supply of chocolate!

 

 

Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

I work with a team out of UC-Berkeley screening pre-prints related to COVID-19 for rapid review by subject matter and methodological experts. It’s been a great way to learn about new research and get involved! 

 

 
What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?

Definitely my favorite part of earning my MPH at Emory is the student community, which is so strong and supportive.

 

 

What advice do you have for 1st year MPH Students?

My first piece of advice is to make relationships with faculty. Email them and ask about their projects.

 

 

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to? 

I’m currently reading 1491 by Charles Mann, which is all about the Americas before Columbus. I’m also reading Truman Capote’s true-crime classic In Cold Blood. My favorite podcasts right now are all sports-related, but I also love epi podcasts, like Casual Inference and Free Associations!

 

 

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

1. I was highly allergic to milk until I was ~20, so the first bite of pizza I had was in my 20s

2. I grew up Orthodox Jewish (no phones on Saturdays!)

3. My father started a new career in his 60s and now teaches English to high school and college students in Ukraine.

 


 

Thanks to Izzy for taking the time to share about himself! We’ll be back next week with another #WeAreEmoryEpi Spotlight.


#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet Lauren Chase

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Lauren Chase is a second-year Epi MPH student interested in public health preparedness. She has been directly involved in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic by contact tracing for the Georgia Department of Public Health!

 

 

Tell us a little bit about your academic history/where you went to school.

I graduated in 2019 with my B.S. in Public and Community Health from Ithaca College.

 

 

What are your primary research interests?

I am primarily interested in emergency preparedness and disaster response.

 

 

How have you been navigating the work (& learn) from home experience during the COVID-19 outbreak?

I have definitely made sure to give myself free time and time away from my computer throughout the day whether I am taking a walk or getting a snack. I think going for walks and getting out of my apartment is great way for me to reset and spend time outside.

 

 

Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

I am currently a contract tracer and case investigator for the Georgia Department of Public Health and I am a research assistant at the Birth Defects Branch of the CDC. Both are amazing opportunities that I have learned so much from.

 

 

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory? 

My favorite part of getting my MPH here is the connections that Emory has and the quality of the professors. It is amazing to get taught by experts in their fields who have real-life experiences that they share with us.

 

 

What advice do you have for 1st year MPH Students?

My advice for first year students is to remember grad school is hard and doing it in a pandemic is harder. Don’t underestimate yourself. You got this!

 

 

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

I am currently reading “Where the Crawdad Sings” by Delia Owens but I just finished the book “Tear Me Apart” by J.T. Ellison and thought it was great.

 

 

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

1. Halloween is my favorite holiday. I have decorated my whole apartment and am very excited to show off my Halloween costume this year (even if just virtually).

2. One quarantine skill that I have mastered is finding discounts to Hello Fresh.

3. A few months ago I spontaneously bought an Xbox and I have no regrets.

 


 

Thanks to Lauren for catching up with us and stay tuned for more #WeAreEmoryEPI next week!


#WeAreEmoryEpi: Meet Alexander Webber

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Alexander Webber is a second-year MPH student in Epidemiology who researches planning and response to parasitic diseases. We got a chance to ask him more about his academic and personal interests!

 

 

Tell us a little bit about your academic history/where you went to school.
I received my B.S. in Biology with a minor in Biomathematics from SUNY Geneseo in Western NY.
 
 
What are your primary research interests?
I am interested in parasitic disease, and the applications of network modeling in planning and response.
 
 
How have you been navigating the work (& learn) from home experience during the COVID-19 outbreak?
It’s not ideal, but I always prioritize mental health over coursework when trying to balance the two. Most importantly, I talk to my friends. I have wonderful friends here at Rollins and I speak to my friends from undergrad almost every day.
 
 
Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?
I’ve been working as a case investigation team lead with the Fulton County Board of Health since June. It’s been very fulfilling to be involved with local COVID response.
 
 
What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?
The people, hands down. I’ve learned a lot from coursework, but getting to know my peers has been an incredible experience.
 
 
What advice do you have for 1st year MPH Students?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and work together. If you’re struggling, chances are your classmates are too.
 
 
What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?
I recently finished reading “Mythos” by Stephen Fry. I highly recommend it for any other mythology fans out there.
 
 
What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?
1) I have a healthy obsession with Greek mythology…all mythology, really. 2) My idea of a fun night is coding and playing video games (whiskey optional). 3) I love to travel. As soon as it’s safe, I’ll be returning to England and Iceland.
 

 


 

Thanks to Alex for taking the time to introduce himself to us. We’ll be back with another #WeAreEmoryEpi feature next week!


#WeAreEmoryEpi: Meet Megan Mileusnic

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Megan Mileusnic is a first-year Global Epidemiology MPH student and was kind enough to talk to us about her research interests, experiences at Emory, and hobbies!

 

Tell us a little bit about your academic history

I graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. in 2017, where I studied Communication, Spanish, and International Business

 

What are your primary research interests?

I’m interested in the social determinants of health, reproductive health, and environmental health.

 

How have you been navigating the work (& learn) from home experience during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Establishing boundaries in regards to my work/study/relax time has helped me start grad school in a healthy way. Capitalizing on time when I feel productive to get things done – and letting myself relax when I feel like I’m at my limit – helps me stay positive and on track.

 

Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

I’m so excited to join the hands-on AISH hotspotting program, which connects students with interdisciplinary teams at Grady Memorial Hospital to identify high healthcare utilizers and work with patients to address factors contributing to their frequent hospitalization.

 

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?

I love being surrounded by peers and experts who are passionate about public health and have their own unique interests and focus areas.

 

What advice do you have for people who may be interested in getting their MPH?

Just go for it, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!

 

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

I just started “Women Don’t Owe You Pretty” by Florence Given, and I recently finished “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande – highly recommend!!

 

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

1. I used to work in human rights and sustainability consulting for leading consumer brands (and could talk about this forever)

2. I studied abroad in Madrid for a year during undergrad and am looking forward to living abroad again someday

3. I love gardening, hiking, and doing almost anything in nature


Thanks to Megan for her time and thanks for reading this week’s #WeAreEmoryEpi spotlight!


#WeAreEmoryEpi: Meet Daniel Milan

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Daniel Milan is a second-year MPH candidate in Epidemiology with research focused on outbreak response and Latinx populations. He was kind enough to talk with us more about his academic and personal interests!

 

Tell us a little bit about your academic history.

I graduated with a B.S. in Public Health in 2019 from Georgia State University. There, my academic career in public health began with research in tobacco cessation.

 

What are your primary research interests? 

My primary research interests are now in Outbreak Response and Latinx Populations.

 

How have you been navigating the work (& learn) from home experience during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Continuously connecting with my friends and organizations I am involved with via Zoom has kept me motivated during this online semester. Additionally, when I struggle to focus at my desk, I will take my laptop and go outside to work.

 

Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

Though I just began, I have started working on thesis related work. I am utilizing COVID-19 data obtained through my APE with Emory’s Outbreak Response Team.

 

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?

My favorite part about earning my MPH at Emory is meeting other students who come from different academic backgrounds and are in different parts of their careers that have provided valuable perspective into classroom learning.

 

What advice do you have for 1st year MPH Students?

My advice for 1st year MPH Students would be to create a study group, friend group, or meet anyone with similar interests as you. Make connections. They will help you succeed in and outside of the classroom.

 

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to? 

I am currently reading Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendal. Though I have not finished, I highly recommend based on what I have read so far.

 

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you? 

I love baseball, fishing, and eating Korean BBQ!


Thanks to Dan for taking the time to chat with us! Check back with the Confounder next week for another student spotlight!