Update: Audriana will be starting a new position as a Project Policy Analyst Position at UC Davis Health! Congratulations Audriana! We are so very happy for you!
We are absolutely thrilled to share this student spotlight featuring Audriana Ketchersid! Audriana a student in the University of San Francisco Sacramento Campus Master of Public Health program, focused in Health Policy Leadership. We asked Audriana to tell us about her experience in the program so far so that we may share what it is like to be a student in this unique degree program and growing career field.
Tell us about yourself, what degree you are working towards, and what led you to this career path?
I am currently working toward a Master’s in Public Health degree with the University of San Francisco (Sacramento campus). I have always wanted to work in a rewarding career, and I felt public health was a perfect area to pursue this aspiration. Plus, my coursework from my undergraduate degree (Kinesiology with a health science concentration) complemented this bridge to the MPH program very well.
How is your degree program going, and how is it helping you to improve your career and life?
The program is very rigorous and keeps you on your toes, but in a good way! While learning new material, I have found an interest somewhere in each class that I thought would be great to utilize in a future career (yes, even Biostatistics!). The assignments that are assigned in each class offer great resume and network-building potential, which is very significant when looking to start a new career or build on your current career.
What is your favorite thing about your degree program so far?
Well, it is hard to pick just one, so I’ll list a few. One thing I really love about the program is the professors are very flexible and quick to follow-up to emails. They understand most of us are either working full-time, have kids, or even both (I don’t know how the mamas do it! Kudos to them). Furthermore, the professors offer a wide range and deep knowledge on the various subject matters we discuss. I also am delighted with the connection our cohort has made with each other. Our first year of the program was entirely remote due to COVID, and when we finally got to meet for in-person class, everyone was very excited. We were also surprised by how tall some people were, as you don’t really get to see this on Zoom!
Can you share a specific example of something you have worked on in the program that you are really passionate about?
A project I am passionate about was from the Health Program Planning class during the Fall 2021 semester. For this project, my group created a theoretical program to assist people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento with getting access to services. It was a very comprehensive project with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears put into it. Our group met on a regular basis to discuss action items and to keep everything on track with due dates. We even went out in the community and conducted a windshield tour of an area in Sacramento to identify key resources we could implement in our plan. I really enjoyed how real the entire experience felt. We all handled the assignment as if we were employed by a company and submitting a real grant. Having these kind of hands-on experiences are, to me, the best way to really learn new processes.
What inspires you and why?
As an athlete growing up, staying healthy and active has always been a top priority in my life. I perform my best when I am in a good mental and physical state. I want to work in a career that helps tackle disparity in health in order to assist others along their journey, especially those who have experienced inequitable barriers to improving their health.
What advice would you like to give to future students?
Be prepared to learn A LOT! And be prepared for lots of insightful discussion in classes. My cohort loves to talk, which is very helpful in moving discussions along (sometimes too helpful) and stimulating conversations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even small ones that you think don’t matter. And don’t say the words “interesting” or “sorry” in Professor Callahan’s class!!
Anything else you would like to share?
One thing I wish I had done is created a log for all of the guest speakers and various contacts from throughout the program. Besides being knowledgeable and wonderful themselves, our professors have amazing connections, many of which are invited to speak to our classes. Take copious notes during guest presentations, as they are sharing REAL experiences!
On behalf of USF Sacramento, we would like to say thank you to Audriana for sharing her experience with us! If you are also interested in joining us for this degree program, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and a one-on-one advising appointment.