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Amy's Research/Interests

Amy Schultz

Graduate Student in the PhD Epidemiology program since 2013


Crystal Lake, IL


Interest Statement: I love the idea of blending and utilizing GIS in the health field. I am many interested in environmental epidemiology and any environmental determinants that affect public health (land resources, water/air quality, agriculture, etc.)

What experiences in your life led you to study Population Health? I have always been a 'big ideas' kind of person. I enjoy understanding the complexity of global problems and problems that face communities or larger populations. I have also always been interested in many different fields and how they interconnect. I chose to study the interdisciplinary field of Geography as a undergraduate and researched particulate matter, the determinants, and its affect on population health. Afterwards, I worked for the Bureau of Land Management performing recreational duties and field work, but I also provided GIS support to the departments of engineering, biology, recreation, forestry, and real estate. I loved the diversity of the projects and the varying types of analysis I performed. After about 3 years with the BLM, I joined Teach for America and taught high school math in the Mississippi Delta. While living in the Delta my interest in public health grew as I not only witnessed the education disparity, but also health disparity. I realized how much I loved statistical analysis, math, and solving environmental/health problems. I then discovered Epidemiology and Population Health at UW-Madison and found it to be a great fit.

Why did you choose UW-Madison for your degree? I chose UW-Madison because it offers an exceptionally interdisciplinary approach to population health and the research interests across the department are vast. I also chose UW-Madison because of the research conducted at the Nelson Institute and the possibility of a joint degree in Environment and Resources and Population Health. Not to mention, after living far from friends and family for over 6 years, I am happy to return to the Midwest and be closer to home.

What do you hope/plan to do with your degree? I will most likely pursue a mid-level epidemiology job conducting research after I graduate. However, I may pursue a MD or PA and practice in a rural, under-served area where I am able to bring my holistic and preventative perspective from my Population Health masters to the medical practice. I also have a friend who started a pilot program as assistant professor in epidemiology down at Emory. She has merged the public health masters program with the teach for America program by creating a seminar where public health is introduced into the classroom. I would be interested in public health education as well and pursuing a similar path.