We are very excited to share our latest student spotlight featuring Audrey Chang! Audrey is a student in the University of San Francisco Sacramento Campus Master of Public Health program, focused in Health Policy Leadership. In this blog post, Audrey tells us her experience and shares what she has gained from the program so far as she moves toward her career goals.
Tell us about yourself, what degree you are working towards, and what led you to this career path?
My name is Audrey Chang and I am a second year Masters in Public Health student with a concentration in Health Policy Leadership. I have a background in community health, health education and elementary education. I chose the health policy route, because I desire to enact change on a systemic level. Service has always been a passion of mine and to me, healthcare was the most tangible way to act upon that passion. When I am not writing a paper, I enjoy reading, baking and going on road trips!
How is your degree program going, and how is it helping you to improve your career and life?
This program has stretched me in more ways than I could have imagined. Through my internship, group projects, guest lectures and fascinating discussions, I have learned to not only grow as a professional, but as a person. There has been a challenge around every corner, but that is what I appreciate about this MPH program. I am essentially forced to think differently and not stick to the status quo. Pushing my mind to accept that there are so many solutions allows me to improve my career direction and life.
What is your favorite thing about your degree program so far?
My favorite thing about this program so far is the flexibility to explore my passions and career interests. Most of my courses have incorporated guest speakers, providing valuable insight to the current public health world and the reality of it. I have had opportunities to connect with various professionals in the field and each have shown me a valuable new aspect of health care.
Can you share a specific example of something you have worked on in the program that you are really passionate about?
There are several projects I have worked on that allowed me to explore my passions. If I had to choose just one, it would be a photovoice presentation. “The Anatomy of Adoption” went through the important phases of adoption and how it related to different parts of the body (see the need – eyes; fall in love – heart). Children’s health and adoption are great passions of mine, so I decided to piece them together to express the great need for adoptive parents and how a loving home leads to better health outcomes. Our children need us and yes, it can be a grueling process, but that should not deter us from recognizing this underserved population.
What inspires you and why?
People. Whether it be the kid at the grocery store who smiled at me or Dr. Paul Farmer who changed Haiti’s healthcare system, people inspire me. Sometimes I need the small piece of recognition from a tiny human, and other times, I need to hear the story of how one person sparked change in an entire system. I have learned that inspiration comes when you need it most and who you least expect it from.
What advice would you like to give to future students?
Leap. Explore the topic you might be passionate about. Reach out to the guest speaker who sparked some questions. Remember that it is okay to not get it all right on the first try. Learn from your mistakes, missteps and move forward. One piece of criticism will not destroy you. If you do not leap, you will never know how far your passions could take you.