Category Archives: #WeAreEmoryEPI

#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet Emily Drzymalla

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Emily is a second-year EPI student also pursuing a certificate in Genetic & Molecular Epidemiology, which ties into her thesis project. We chatted about her thesis, working (and learning) from home, and she shared some fun facts!

 


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

I went to Texas A&M University for my undergraduate studies and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Genetics. I am currently a second-year MPH student for Epidemiology at Rollins and am also in the Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Certificate.

 

 

What are your primary research interests?

My primary research interest is in genetic epidemiology and epigenetics.

 

 

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

One project I’m working on is for my thesis project. It involves looking to see if there is an association between prenatal maternal depression and changes in the DNA methylation in the cord blood for the infant.

 

 

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

My favorite part about earning my MPH at Emory is the people I’ve gotten to meet and the relationships I’ve gotten to form.

 

 

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

Don’t be afraid to try new things. You may end up liking a class or topic more than you thought you would.

 

 

As first-year students start to look for their APE positions, do you have any tips for finding a practicum?

Networking can help you to find an APE position. You can talk to professors or guest speakers who share your interests after class. If they do not have a position open, they may know someone else who does.

 

 

When applying, what were you looking for in a public health school, and what factors drove you towards Rollins?

Honestly, the fact that Rollins was ranked fifth at the time and is also next to the CDC were major factors.

 

 

Do you have any other tips for prospective public health students?

Find what interests you. There are a lot of different facets of epidemiology and some you may not have any interest in. Also, try to acquire a broad skill set. If you have time, take classes that can teach you skills you may not be directly in your specific interest. These skills may come in handy later on.

 

 

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

Honestly, it has been difficult. Time management and discipline are important parts for navigating the work and learn from home experience.

 

 

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

I am currently reading The Brothers Karamazov. I haven’t finished it yet but so far it’s one of my favorite books.

 

 

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?
  1. I want to have a green thumb but I don’t.
  2. I have a feisty cat named Pebbles.
  3. I’ve seen three sharks unintentionally.

 


 

Thanks again to Emily for her time! We will be back with another #WeAreEmoryEPI spotlight next week!


InsideAPE: Jacob Pluznik and HIV Testing in Incarcerated Populations

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

On this week’s #InsideAPE, we are talking to second-year Epi MPH student Jacob Pluznik. Jacob is working with Dr. Anne Spaulding to study HIV linkages to care in the Washington DC Department of Corrections. Read below to learn more!

 
Tell us about your APE project

For my APE I am working on a study with Dr. Anne Spaulding in the DC Department of Corrections (DOC). We are examining linkages to care for HIV for incarcerated persons and how different testing methods influence these linkages to care after release.

 

How did you find your APE?

I found out about my APE opportunity from a friend (Epi Rep Tony Mufarreh) who knew I was interested in finding an APE surrounding HIV and spoke with Dr. Spaulding about the opportunity at an EPI bagel breakfast. He then forwarded the information onto me so I could reach out and pursue it!

 

How has your experience been so far? Has it been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and if so, how are you adapting to those changes?

My experience has been good so far, and I have really enjoyed being able to work on an interprofessional team with so many awesome people who are so passionate about and good at what they do. It started off slowly but has begun to pick up greatly in the past couple of weeks! Originally, the study was put on hold due to the DOC being closed to outside workers due to the pandemic but is starting to open back up for us to go in, collect, and work with our data.

 

How did you survive lockdown and what’s the first thing you can’t wait to do once it’s safe again?

I survived the lockdown by trying to stay active and exercising and eating well. I also started experimenting with cooking new and exciting meals for myself to have something to look forward to at the end of my days. Once it’s safe again, I hope I can host some of my friends over for a dinner party to show off what I’ve learned.

 

Thanks to Jacob for his time and for telling us more about his summer APE! Tune in next week for another #InsideAPE spotlight!


#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet Sean Huang

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Sean is a second-year student interested in researching infectious diseases and vaccines. We talked to him more about his current projects, what he loves about Rollins, and why he chose to come to Emory!

 


 

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

I graduated from the University of Austin with a Microbiology degree.

 

 

What are your primary research interests?

My primary research interest is Infectious Disease, I am especially intrigued by antimicrobial resistance and how we might be able to utilize vaccination as a prevention method.

 

 

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

I am currently working on a project called SHEP (SARS-Cov-2 in Hemo-dialysis Patients) where we are measuring the prevalence and incidence of COVID-19 in dialysis centers around Atlanta, we are also investigating possible influencing factors that may contribute to COVID-19 positivity. It’s exciting because I get to play around with the data and improve on the skills of data management, data analysis, and data visualization.

 

 

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

My favorite part has got to be meeting and making new friends who are also passionate about similar things.

 

 

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

Don’t get too bogged down with the coursework, there are other things that are also important such as taking a walk, chatting with people, and just taking care of yourself.

 

 

As first-year students start to look for their APE positions, do you have any tips for finding a practicum?

Don’t be afraid to reach out to professors/possible networking opportunities, most people are nice about it. They usually don’t have a reason to be mean to you.

 

 

When applying, what were you looking for in a public health school, and what factors drove you towards Rollins?

Rollins was appealing as a public health school because of its reputation and rank as it is the top five MPH program in the nation. But also, its proximity and connection to CDC played a crucial role in my decision as well.

 

 

Do you have any other tips for prospective public health students?

Be bold, be who you are, know what inspires you, but also be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

 

 

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

It’s been a slow process, but you have to accept the fact that it won’t be as productive working/learning from home. You just have to maximize the efficiency however you can.

 

 

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

A podcast I have been listening to is She Tells True Crimes, it’s a great podcast that tells stories of mysteries and crimes around the world.

 

 

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

(1) Laughing is my default reaction, I have gotten into some awkward situations for laughing at inappropriate times.

(2) I love hiking! Especially those with a lake or a waterfall at the end of the trail

(3) I am acrophobic, which might be ironic considering my love for hiking.

 


 

Thanks to Sean for chatting with us! Check back with the Confounder next week for another student spotlight.


#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet Madison Cahill

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Madison is a second-year Master’s student interested in emergency preparedness and working on a project studying how the pandemic has affected the mental health of essential workers. We chatted with her about what let her to picking Rollins, her favorite parts of her time at Emory, and some advice for younger students!

 


 

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

I got my undergraduate degree in molecular genetics at The Ohio State University

 

 

What are your primary research interests?

My initial research interest when I came to Rollins was infectious diseases, but I have grown very interested in emergency preparedness. I am particularly interested in where infectious disease and emergency preparedness overlap.

 

 

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

In my REAL position with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, we are doing a second round of a Stress Assessment Survey that looks at how the pandemic has affected the mental health of workers in the agriculture, food, healthcare, hospitality, and education industries. I feel fortunate to be apart of this multi-agency collaboration that will hopefully shine a light on the importance of mental health and provide people with mental health resources.

 

 

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

My favorite part has been the people I have met while I was at Emory, because they have opened me up to new concepts and ways of thinking. This diversity of thought that can be found at Emory is deeply enriching.

 

 

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

Do not get bogged down in schoolwork. While schoolwork is important, your learning experiences outside the classroom are just as important to your educational experience and it is always important to take a break for your mental health.

 

 

As first-year students start to look for their APE positions, do you have any tips for finding a practicum?

Take advantage of the career fairs and Handshake. I would also encourage students to look at less traditional places (such as departments of agriculture or food safety positions) because while these positions are not strictly public health, they are involved in many public health aspects.

 

 

When applying, what were you looking for in a public health school, and what factors drove you towards Rollins?

I was encouraged to go to Emory because of a friend of a family member who said she went to Emory for her public health degree. While that encouraged me to look at Rollins the subject matter of classes offered and the professors of Rollins are what sealed the deal for me.

 

 

Do you have any other tips for prospective public health students?

Be honest and be yourself. If you do this, your talent and your desire to make a difference through public health should shine through.

 

 

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

Navigating work and school during a pandemic has been challenging, but I found that creating a checklist has made it easier to navigate both. I also make sure to take time to have social interactions (though phone calls and video chats) so that I can feel connected and keep myself grounded during the pandemic.

 

 

Do you have any book, podcast, or TV show recommendations?

I am currently watching Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and it is an amazing show that I highly recommend. I love that Marvel is taking time to develop complex themes and character arcs with characters that were not heavily utilized in the movies.

 

 

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

One summer, I went on a night dive in Bon Aire and nothing is darker than being 30 ft underwater at night.

At Ohio State, I was apart of the archery club and took part in several archery competitions.

I took a minor in theatre when I was in undergrad, mostly because I thought the acting classes were a fun break between my heavy science classes.

 


 

Thanks again to Madison for taking some time to introduce herself! We’ll be back next week with another student feature next week.


Reintroducing ADAPs Noni Bourne and Farah Dharamshi

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Last week we introduced our new EPI ADAP, Brenda, and this week we wanted to reintroduce you to our incredible current ADAPs! Noni and Farah are incredible resources for our students and we took the opportunity to learn more about their positions within the department in this week’s #WeAreEmoryEPI spotlight.

 


 

Where were you before coming to Rollins, and what attracted you most to the school?

Noni: I wanted to work at Emory, and RSPH in particular, because of the school’s reputation for excellence and because of the student-centered approach to education.

Farah: I have a bachelors in science (BS) in environmental studies from the University of Winnipeg (I’m Canadian!), I hold a masters in science and education (MSEd) in public health from the University of Toledo, and a juris master- JM (master in law) in global health law from Emory University. I was a director in the Office of Enrollment Management and Student Services for five years at the Emory University School of Law. 

 

 

What in particular made you want to become an ADAP for our department?

Noni: EPI is my favorite department ( 😊) because of our department values.  The community that we have, the ways we interact, and the culture of integrity, ambition, rigor, collegiality and inclusion are truly present in our day-to-day interactions.

Farah: I have worked in consulting, and graduate medical education as director of medical education, working primarily with family practice residents. I have conducted research in childhood obesity, and interpersonal violence, and has presented numerous seminars on these topics along with early cognitive development, and women’s preventative health. I am also an active community volunteer, and serves as a principal and teacher on the weekends at an early childhood development center.

 

 

What are some examples of things you usually help students with, and some that are less well-known?

Noni: My usual interactions with students focus around course registration and advisement, APE and thesis advice.  The parts that are less well-known are the one-off questions that students come to me with.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll help you find it!

Farah: The students I advise know a frequent mantra of mine this past year – “give yourself grace”, or “be kind to yourself”. This year has been tough, and I am so proud of our students for facing the continuous challenges with such aplomb. They have been on the front lines, they have dived into social, and public health causes and created new opportunities to participate and give back. There have also been so many students who have experienced loss, grief and too much pain. Grace, compassion and resilience are the cornerstones of how they have gotten through this past year.

 

 

What are your goals for working with students moving into the new academic year, as we hope to return to a sense of normalcy at Rollins?

Noni: I’m looking forward to learning more about my advisees and returning to the high energy and enthusiasm environment that we have on campus.

 

 

What is a hobby you’ve taken up during the pandemic?

Noni: Oh, I don’t have any hobbies per-se, but my go-to pandemic activities have been very elaborate games of hide-and-seek with my 5-year-old twins, lots of neighborhood walks, Netflix, and keeping (most of) my houseplants alive.

Farah: Running. Every. Single. Day. I have not missed a morning since last year.. I run very early in the morning and log an additional 15-25 miles over the weekends. This is not a “new” hobby, but it is something I have found more joy in. It has saved me this past year.

 

 

What are some books or podcasts you are enjoying right now?

Noni: I’m really enjoying escapist sci-fi.  I was recently sucked into The OA on Netflix and also dove into N.K. Jemisin’s books (highly recommend the Broken Earth series). 

Farah:

Podcasts – The Hidden Brain, Brené Brown Unlocking Us & Dare to Lead, On Being.

Books – A Promised Land, The Cost of Living, Caste, White Fragility, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race, The Body Keeps the Score, The Power of Now.

 

 

Did you have any other messages or resources you would like to share with students and prospective students?

Noni: Stop by my office hours, Mondays at 11am, I would love to say hi!

 


 

Thanks so much to Noni and Farah for chatting with us! Check back next week for another #WeAreEmoryEPI feature.


Meet new EPI department ADAP Brenda Lee Hardy

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

This month, Brenda is joining the Epidemiology department as the third ADAP, alongside Noni Bourne and Farah Dharamshi. We caught up with her in advance of her move to Rollins and chatted about her background and goals for her new position!

 


Where were you before coming to Rollins, and what attracted you most to the school?

I am in Albany New York and in the process of moving to Atlanta. I am looking forward to the nicer weather and to be near my grandchildren. I have heard many wonderful things about Emory.

 

What in particular made you want to become an ADAP for our department?

I enjoyed being the Academic Program Coordinator at another institution, and it required many of the same skills as the ADAP position. I like the combination of working with students and faculty and when I had my interviews, everyone was so welcoming. 

 

What are some examples of things you usually help students with, and some that are less well-known?

I help students choose classes and understand that a degree and career are not necessarily a straight path. I have been working with students for over 30 years and teaching for 15 years. In my previous position, I would build courses in Canvas as we were developing them, so faculty did not have to, and the courses had the same look and feel so students were comfortable with every online course.

 

What are your goals for working with students moving into the new academic year, as we hope to return to a sense of normalcy at Rollins?

I have a lot to learn and look forward to learning how I will fit in with the department and I am willing to help wherever needed. 

 

What is a hobby you’ve taken up during the pandemic?

I have crocheted since I was 4, but during the pandemic, I crocheted many blankets and donated them to the local county nursing home where the elderly often have no relatives.

 

What are some books or podcasts you are enjoying right now?

Between teaching, learning the new job, and packing so I can move, I have had little time.  I am looking forward to getting to Georgia.

 

Did you have any other messages or resources you would like to share with students and prospective students?

I look forward to meeting and working with you!


 

Thanks to Brenda for talking with us! We look forward to welcoming her to Rollins!


#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet the 2020-2021 Communications Team

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

As the hiring process for the next Emory Epi communications team begins, we want to highlight the current members and their experience over the past year. Emma Butturini is tasked with The Confounder, Saarav Patel runs @rollinsepilife on Instagram, and I, Malay Mody, manage @EmoryEpi on Twitter. We responded to a few questions about our roles and the best parts of our jobs!

 


 

 
What is your role on the communications team and what does a typical work week look like for you?

 

Emma: I am an editorial associate so my main job is to update the Confounder website with job postings and events, and set up the weekly newsletter that gets sent out to students and alumni. I normally spend a little time every other day posting job opportunities as they are sent in by alumni or faculty, then on Sunday afternoons, I get the newsletter ready to be emailed out on Monday morning.

 

Saarav: My official title is “Social Media Associate,” and I primarily work with the Department of EPI Instagram account! In a typical week, I will go through emails and correspondence with faculty about events on campus, and think of which posts and stories I will be making for the week. I try to attend as many events I can, just so I can better advertise the events in the future. I have a planning process for the layout of the page that I follow pretty closely, too.

 

Malay: I am also a social media associate and I mainly handle the @EmoryEpi Twitter account! In a typical week, I will be sure to manage the Twitter DMs along with any mentions and other departmental or relevant university-wide news. I specifically try to focus on events at Rollins and the exciting work that the Epidemiology faculty and students are doing! I also am in charge of writing posts for our #WeAreEmoryEPI series on The Confounder, so I contact a featured student or alumnus weekly and put together the interview piece. 

 

 

How do you balance your work for the communications team with your other work and academic responsibilities?

 

E: I try to plan out my work for the week as much as possible and divide up any larger tasks or projects into smaller pieces so that I can space them out and check off a few things from my to-do list every day. This strategy has helped me a lot to balance school with my work at the Confounder and my REAL job over the past year.

 

S: I am very good at planning my days, so I try to allot a specific number of hours each week towards this position and keep work related to this job outside of those hours (responding to GroupMe’s, sharing stories from other Rollins accounts) to a minimum.

 

M: I try to have certain tweets and topics planned out from the beginning of the week so that I only have to keep up with news throughout the week. Given the busy nature of Twitter, this is only possible to a certain extent but it helps me ensure that I am able to provide consistent content without using all of my time during the week.

 

 

What new skills have you learned or further developed through your role?

 

E: I think the biggest thing I have learned is how to effectively tailor communications and content to the needs and interests of your audience, whether through writing articles highlighting student work, identifying opportunities for current students, or updating the website to improve user-friendliness.

 

S: I only had social media experience through my personal accounts prior to this role, and this job has allowed me to learn about social media insights and analytics. I also feel more connected with the RSPH EPI faculty, which is a huge plus.

 

M: In the past, I had never run a social media account with the specific aim of disseminating information and growing the only exposure of an organization. This role has taught me how to report academic findings and how to tailor posts to gain views and engagement.

 

 

What is the most interesting/rewarding part of your job?

 

E: The most rewarding of the job has been being able to help connect students to new opportunities and resources that help them during their MPH experience, and hopefully afterward.

 

S: I love being able to see and share all of the events that are happening on campus, and being able to disseminate that information feels really good. People tagging #WeAreEmoryEPI on their stories for us to share is also really cool.

 

M: I love when I post a tweet or a student spotlight that starts a conversation online between colleagues and friends. During such a tough year for everyone’s social lives and workplace communities, I like to think that we can help bridge the gap a little bit until we are all in-person again.

 

 

How does your work in this role fit with your overall personal/professional goals for your MPH?

 

E: This role has been very helpful to me because I am passionate about science communications and my work here has taught me a lot about thinking intentionally about who your audience is, what their needs are, and how to deliver information differently depending on what you want your readers to take away from a piece in the end.

 

S: In my opinion, most modern careers will incorporate some sort of technology/social media aspect; this job has allowed me to show that my skills are applicable to a public health position.

 

M: As a future physician-epidemiologist, it will be critical for me to be able to succinctly convey information in a digestible manner to my patients and colleagues. I think that my position specializing in Twitter is the perfect platform for this and will serve me well in my future profession.

 

 

What is your favorite part of working on the communications team?

 

E: Beyond my regular work, I have really enjoyed getting to work on several different projects for the website and having a lot of creative freedom for how to complete them. One of my favorite projects so far was writing an article series over the summer that highlighted the incredible work Emory EPI students were doing in different areas of local COVID-19 response.

 

S: My favorite part of working on this team is the flexibility. If there is a week that I need to be less present due to my academic schedule, I am able to easily convey that and work with my team to figure out a solution.

 

M: My favorite part of working on this team is the ability to work on my own time from anyplace. As graduate students, we are all extremely busy and pulled in several different directions but this job is the perfect way to stay engaged in the Emory Epidemiology community with your own schedule.

 

 

Is there any advice you would like to give to first years who might be interested in joining the team and working more closely with the department?  

 

E: My biggest piece of advice would be even if you are not as experienced with the platforms we use, as long as you are excited and willing to learn, you will be able to succeed and be a great contributor to the team! Getting to work with faculty and staff in the department is a really great opportunity, so if you are at all interested, I would say go for it and apply!

 

S: I’d recommend anyone for this job who has unique ideas for the Department’s social media presence. It is a really fun way to engage with faculty and staff, and allows you to develop and flex skills that are applicable to modern public health-related careers.

 

M: I’d unequivocally recommend that you apply for this job! There is so much you can learn regardless of which platform you’re in charge of, and you get to work on a fun, dedicated team as well!

 


 

Thank you for checking out this week’s #WeAreEmoryEPI, we were so excited to share our experiences and hope any first-year students will consider applying for a position with us! If interested, please apply by March 16 here for communications associate and here for social media associate.


#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet Muhammad Zia ul Haq

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

In this week’s #WeAreEmoryEPI spotlight, we are introducing Muhammad Zia ul Haq, who goes by Zia, a second-year Master’s student. A physician trained in Pakistan, his main interests are in chronic diseases and their biological etiology. We talked to him about his favorite parts of Rollins, his APE, and more!

 


 

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

I completed my MBBS (MD) from Nishtar Medical College Pakistan which is affiliated with the largest public hospital in the country welcoming a diverse patient population.

 

 

What are your primary research interests?

My passion lies in cancer research and Diabetes. In particular, understanding the genetic and molecular etiology of these diseases.

 

 

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

At the Morningside Center for Innovative and Affordable Medicine, our mission is to develop practice-changing treatments that are effective, affordable and non-toxic by adopting financial orphans (i.e. pursuing clinical development of scientifically promising ideas that are lying fallow due to lack of financial incentive). I am specifically helping build an extensive clinical trials database of literature related to alternative treatments for various cancers.

 

 

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

Collaborative potential and multidisciplinary faculty with rich research interests is my favorite part. I have collaborated with talented faculty at other departments at Rollins as well as the School of Medicine.

 

 

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

Do not hesitate to reach out to everyone you can find who is working in the area you see yourself in the future, especially beyond academic and cultural barriers. People at Rollins come from diverse backgrounds and I found value in every interaction I had. The same goes for reaching out to Professors and research coordinators both in and out of Rollins. As much as we are interested in gaining experience, they are looking for exact qualities we possess at Rollins students.

 

 

As first-year students start to look for their APE positions, do you have any tips for finding a practicum?

I would recommend looking with curiosity and flexibility. It is a learning experience rather than a professional one. Oftentimes exposure to an environment that challenges our grasp on concepts and skills even beyond our research interests fosters qualities that can take us way forward afterward. And quite possibly, we may grow passion in that particular discipline as we come to know new cool avenues.

 

 

When applying, what were you looking for in a public health school, and what factors drove you towards Rollins?

I chose Rollins because of its talented faculty which is involved in cutting-edge research with diverse interests and the wonderful Rollins family which is extremely friendly and cooperative. I love the passion, interest and personal experiences all instructors bring to the class as they stimulate analytical thinking.

 

 

Do you have any other tips for prospective public health students?

Public health has the potential of influencing the world way more than any field alone including medicine. So do not enter it half-heartedly. Bring your best passions, work, and heart while entering this field and be open to challenging the societal beliefs and biases every day as you traverse this revolutionary experience that prepares you to be the changing world needs today!

 

 

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

I have improved my schedule (both in terms of planning and following it). I set time for breaks every day after work as well as on the weekends when I learn new skills like cooking or go for nature runs. I take twice more effort to reach out to colleagues and group mates online to compensate for a lack of in-person interaction. And most importantly, try to practice kindness towards myself as well as team members for falling short.

 

 

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

1. The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life by Robin Sharma (Highly Recommended) through an enchanting-and often amusing-story about two struggling strangers who meet an eccentric tycoon who becomes their secret mentor, this book inspires the value of prioritizing, perseverance, and the importance of mental and physical health.

2. The Forty Rules of Love: Novel by Elif Shafak. This book emphasizes the value of kindness, love, compassion, and acceptance towards people and situations that are different than our usual experiences.

 

 

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

1. I once caught a fish with bare hands at Chattahoochee River

2. I lost car keys in the Atlantic Ocean and was stranded on Tybee Island with my friend for 3 days.

3. I make great Okra and Yakhni Pulao (chicken rice)

 


 

Thanks again to Zia for his time, check back next week for another #WeAreEmoryEPI feature!


#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet Katy Krupinsky

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

In this week’s student spotlight, we are catching up with Katy Krupinsky, the department’s second RSGA representative for 2021 (we featured Sandra last week ICYMI). She is a first-year Master’s student working with mathematical modeling. Read on to learn more about her background, favorite parts about Rollins, and plans for her new role as EPI rep. 

 


 

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

I completed my undergrad at Colorado State University in Microbiology this past May!

 

 

What are you most looking forward to during your term as RSGA EPI student representative? 

As RSGA EPI student representative, I am most looking forwards to working with my peers to further build up our little EPI community and foster a learning environment that allows for every student to be successful.

 

 

What are some changes or cool ideas you are looking to bring to the department?

I hope to create spaces for students to meet up (for now virtually) and find peers that are in a similar situation as their own.  Additionally, I am a big fan of some friendly competition – so hopefully creating some events that follow that spirit.  I don’t want to reveal anything specific just yet, but let’s just say that we have some fun things in the works!

 

 

What are your primary research interests?

I am interested in using mathematical modeling techniques in order to answer questions relating to tuberculosis and infectious diseases more generally.

 

 

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

It has been quite the adjustment for sure! For me, the most important thing has been making sure to stick to a schedule and always having a list of tasks to accomplish each day so that I stay productive. There are days when it seems almost impossible and I just want to give up; however, in those moments, I try to remind myself of why I chose to follow this path with my education and root myself in that “why”.

 

 

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

I am currently an RA in the EpiModel research lab and have had the opportunity to work on some of the lab’s projects. It has been really neat being able to get involved in the amazing research happening here at Rollins and I can’t wait to see what great opportunities the rest of my time here holds.

 

 

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

I think my favorite part about earning my MPH at Emory is the wide variety of opportunities, the amazing lectures, and the diverse community of peers that I get to work with on a daily basis. It is an environment that fosters critical thought, the tackling of pressing problems in our world, and personal growth — three things that make it the perfect place to receive the training needed in order to be a successful public health professional!

 

 

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

I think the biggest advice that I have for people who may be interested in getting their MPH is to really think about your “why” for choosing this field of study. To say the least, figuring out how to answer any of the questions which this field focuses on is filled with more uncertainty than certainty — something that is very frustrating at times. Any MPH program is going to ask a lot out of you and ask you to tackle many of these uncertain problems in your classes. You will get stuck and feel frustrated and get discouraged throughout your program. However, if you have a strong “why public health” and always remember it in your actions, then you will be able to move past any problems you may face and be ready to get everything you can out of this degree — and love (almost) every second of it!

 

 

When applying, what were you looking for in a public health school, and what factors drove you towards Rollins?

When I was applying, I was looking for a school that had not only a stellar reputation within the field but also for a school that offered a diverse set of opportunities for research and applied experience. Rollins was the school that I ultimately chose because of not only both of those qualities but also the warmth and problem-solving-centered learning environment which the Rollins EPI department fosters.

 

 

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

Nothing currently, but I recently finished “The Forgotten Plague” by Frank Ryan which tells the story of how some of the earliest drugs for tuberculosis were developed and where the field may need to go next with the current pattern of increasing drug-resistant disease. It’s told in a very reader-friendly/non-sciencey manner and sheds a light on what all goes into developing new drugs for major health threats such as TB — would highly recommend if anyone has ever wondered the story behind the treatment of tuberculosis!

 

 

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

(1) I was a professional skater with Disney on Ice prior to starting my undergrad and got to tour around the US, Canada and Mexico performing in different arenas each week. I won’t put in writing what character I was “friends” with, but let’s just say I got to wear some pretty cool pairs of ears!

(2) I am originally from Tempe, AZ, and once successfully baked cookies in my car when it was WAY too hot during the summer.

(3) My brother is a student at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Go Navy! Beat Army!

 


 

Thanks so much to Katy for her time! Check back next week for our next student spotlight on #WeAreEmoryEPI!


#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet First-Year Sandra Amouzou

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Sandra Amouzou is a first-year Global Epi Master’s student interested in social determinants of health and health outcomes in underrepresented communities. She also was elected an RSPH Student Government representative for the department! We talked to her more about her projects and her new role in this week’s #WeAreEmoryEPI.

 


 

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

I attended the University of Iowa where I obtained my BA in Health and Human Physiology, with minors in Global Health and French.

 

 

What are you most looking forward to during your term as RSGA EPI student representative?

What I am looking forward to the most is getting to know my cohort, as I felt like this quasi online format has limited the connections we’re building and the types of communities we’re forming with each other. I hope that we get to put on events that incorporate more relaxing activities for everyone to join in.

 

 

What are some changes or cool ideas you are looking to bring to the department?

I really really enjoy fun presentation parties in which everyone tunes in to those who have prepared a presentation on some random fun (appropriate) subject, and just seeing their logic in explaining it, such as “why Friends is just an adult version of Arthur” or “what types of fruit would world leaders be”, just fun things like that. I believe that we have multitudes of academically informational sessions for students, but sometimes having some time to just laugh is really disregarded.  If anyone has any other ideas, let me know! 

 

 

What are your primary research interests?

My primary research interests lie in social determinants of health, but also the intersection of mental health and health outcomes for underrepresented communities.

 

 

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

It has been a challenge, realizing that a majority of my work will be online as well as my courses. I have taken time to get away from my study area in my room and sit outside here and there, as well as taken breaks to play with my cat. I think the best thing I’ve done is separate my work from my pleasure, by not doing homework in bed, for example.

 

 

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

I’m working as a REAL student within the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, where I’m working on inputting and analyzing the Zika data they have collected over the years, but also looking at how COVID19 affects pregnant mothers.

 

 

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

My favorite part would have to be the environment, I believe that Emory is beautifully placed to be connected to many public health initiatives domestically and globally. I also really enjoy the weather.

 

 

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

I would advise those interested in getting their MPH to chat with someone who has their MPH to gauge interest, but also an understanding of how different everyone’s paths to an MPH would be. I am realizing that public health work does not just limit itself to one specific type of career, and that’s exciting!

 

 

When applying, what were you looking for in a public health school, and what factors drove you towards Rollins?

I was specifically looking for public health schools that would be proponents of active learning and application of the public health programs (which is why I love REAL) as well as programs that incorporate multiple types of certificate programs to enhance understandings of other public health subjects.

 

 

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

I just finished the book Saint X that gives a chronology of a sisters’ search for answers to her older sister’s disappearance, interweaving societal and individual factors that may have contributed to her death, and I am hoping to start Dune before the movie comes out! (I mainly enjoy thrillers/dramas/scifi/overall fiction novels). I am also reading the Vanishing Half as a part of the book club!

 

 

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

1. I absolutely love pistachio gelato (any recommendation are welcome)

2. I have visited 8 nations thus far

3. I have a very vocal gray cat named Wesley (Yes, like Wesley from the Princess Bride) (Or Wes, like Wes Anderson, for short)

 


 

Thanks to Sandra for her time, and we can’t wait to see what she does in her time as RSGA rep in 2021. Tune in next week for another student spotlight on #WeAreEmoryEPI!