- Where are you from? Where did you grow up?
I am from Cleveland, Tennessee. A small city in East Tennessee outside of Chattanooga.
- What previous degrees and educational experiences have you earned?
Straight out of high school I went to cosmetology school. I graduated, but decided I wanted to further my career. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics with a minor in Chemistry at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
- What has been your favorite part about moving to Memphis and what has been the most difficult adjustment?
At first, the most difficult adjustment was moving to a big city that my husband and I knew nothing about (except Elvis). My favorite part about moving here was getting involved in the MPH program and Soma Ministries on campus. Through both of these programs, I have made numerous friends that I am thankful for every day.
- What got you interested in public health?
During my last year at UTC, we had an assignment to find our “dream job” on the internet. I had no clue where I wanted to work, but as I researched I found an Epidemiologist position at the CDC. After turning in the assignment, I did not think anything of it until I attended the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) where I talked to many Dietitians that also have MPH’s. That is when I realized I wanted to go into public health and pursue my “dream job” of becoming an Epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I have always wanted to do mission work and/or work for a non-profit organization. With this goal, not only can I work globally/domestically in public health, but I can also incorporate the field of mission work.
- Why did you choose our MPH program?
I only applied to two schools; both being in the state of Tennessee. The University of Memphis was actually my first choice and the first school that accepted me into their program. When I received my acceptance letter I knew that it was the right decision.
- What do you like most about our School of Public Health?
There are multiple things I like about our School of Public Health. I love how involved we can be not only on campus, but in our community through different opportunities given to us. I also like being able to see the same classmates throughout our classes. It is nice to be able to establish lasting relationships in something you share a passion for with others.
- What one public health change would you like to see in the Memphis area?
I would like to see the vast difference of socioeconomic status change for the better. Coming from Chattanooga, I am used to seeing sections of the city with poverty, but I have never experienced it differentiating street to street. To me, it is crazy to think that one street over from a wealthy neighborhood can be one of the poorest neighborhoods in Memphis.
- How would you like to apply your MPH degree to your future goals and career?
I want to work with infectious diseases, either at the Tennessee Department of Health or in a fellowship through the CDC upon graduation. After this, my husband and I plan to move to Africa for some time and I would want to work globally for the CDC or another organization. My ultimate long-term career goal is to work in Atlanta at the CDC headquarters as an Epidemiologist. Wherever I may end up, I hope to make an impact with infectious disease prevention.
- What are your hobbies/interests?
I enjoy dancing, sports, fishing, and spending time outside. My favorite shows are The Walking Dead and Criminal Minds.
- Name something on your “bucket list”
My ultimate dream is to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) or the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) in person.