What is your current job?
Program Assistant at the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute
Why did you choose this profession?
Ever since entering college, medicine and public health have both been some of my many interests. This interest developed into a passion after taking an independent college course, “Bodies of Injustice: Health, Illness, and Healing in Contexts of Inequality”, with Carol Schilling in my senior year. The intimate seminar-style setting of the course, the curriculum content, and Professor Schilling’s style of teaching all helped me better understand medicine’s pivotal role in combating social inequities. Going into public health and working specifically with HIV was the perfect marriage of medicine and social justice for me.
What more do you wish to accomplish in your professional career?
After my time at the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute this year, I am looking to gain more experiences with public health and medicine at either the community healthcare center or community based organization levels before applying to medical school. In doing so, I hope to complement my current perspective of medicine at the public health level, with a perspective of what medicine looks like at the “front lines”. Ultimately, I want to get a medical degree along with a Masters in Public Health and plan on providing primary care for LGBT and underserved communities while still influencing healthcare policy in some capacity.
Tell us about a decision or change you made that turned out to be a positive career move.
The biggest decision that I have made thus far in my career that proved to be a positive career move was the decision to leave my job as a Global Academic Fellow at NYU Abu Dhabi to work at the State Department of Health AIDS Institute in New York. After my first year as a teaching fellow at NYU Abu Dhabi I did not see myself wanting to stay in academia as a life career. When I looked into the position at the AIDS Institute, I was excited by the new experiences and opportunities for fostering key relationships in fields that I was still interested in: public health, medicine, and HIV. What made this decision difficult for me came down to finances. I realized that taking this new position in New York would make me much less financially stable than if I stayed with NYU Abu Dhabi for another year. After much reflection and talking with family, friends, and mentors, I decided that the experience that came with the position at the AIDS Institute personally outweighed the benefits of staying at NYU Abu Dhabi. I felt that my experiences during the first few years after college would be pivotal in shaping my career down the line and since I knew that I did not want to continue further with chemistry and academia, I decided to switch fields and start anew with public health. I have no regrets with the decision I have made and am all the happier currently because of it.
How has Haverford influenced your professional career?
Haverford provided with the means to explore all of my interests in college. As an incoming freshman, I was unsure of where I would end up after Haverford since I was still trying to learn and understand who I was as a person. Through classes at Haverford, I started to develop the academic language and frameworks that allowed me to contextualize the world around me. Outside of academics, my involvement with programs such as the Tri-Co Multicultural Leadership Institute provided me with the space and support for intrapersonal growth throughout my four years at Haverford. While my experience at Haverford may not have directly impacted my current career choices, I am grateful for the space, resources, and opportunities that Haverford has provided me that have allowed me to figure out what excites me in life and how to turn my passions into a life-long career.