Credentials: PhD Population Health
Year Started: 2019
Hometown: Gladbrook, IA
What are your areas of interest within population health sciences? Maternal-Child Health, Mental Illness, Substance Use
Interest Statement: I earned my bachelor of science in biology and chemistry from the University of Northern Iowa in 2015, with a minor in music. During my undergrad, I did a one-year study abroad in Istanbul, Turkey as a Boren Scholar. After my graduation, I returned to Ankara, Turkey in 2015 to study Turkish on a Critical Language Scholarship. I then took time off to travel, living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Dushanbe, Tajikistan. In 2017, I returned to the US to study theoretical chemistry here at UW-Madison. After receiving my master of science in 2019, I enrolled as a PhD student in population health (epidemiology option). I am interested in maternal-child health, mental illness, and substance use, and I am currently working on a project related to opioid use disorder in pregnancy. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and son, playing euphonium and piano, traveling, and practicing languages (I speak Turkish, Uzbek, and Tajik).
What experiences in your life led you to study population/public health? During my time living abroad, I had contact with various health care systems around the globe. I was surprised by the wide variety of approaches to healthcare and the differences in the ways in which personal and public health was approached in different countries. In particular, my experiences during my first pregnancy in Tajikistan got me interested in studying maternal-child health.
Why did you choose UW-Madison for your degree? I chose UW-Madison for my degree because it is a high-quality institution located in a family-friendly, liberal city. It also helps that Madison is extremely vegetarian-friendly and close enough to my hometown in Iowa that my family and I can visit each other regularly.
What do you hope/plan to do with your degree? If my family chooses to stay in the US, I would like to work for the government as a maternal-child health researcher. If we choose to move back to Cambodia or Tajikistan, I would instead pursue employment at an intergovernmental organization like the WHO or at a local NGO.