Alyse Haven is a Maternal and Child Health MPH student at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. As the head of the SPH Ambassador Program and a research assistant for the Center of Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health, Alyse is focused on the intersection of epidemiology and child health. Learn more about her experience as a UMN SPH student by reading her responses to the questions below.
What drew you to public health?
[Alyse] When I was in high school, I noticed that I was consistently choosing topics for projects that focused on health. I did presentations on the chemicals in fast food, I created diagrams of how infectious diseases affect the body, and I wrote papers on the consequences of natural disasters on health infrastructures. I quickly noticed that the common theme to all of my work was health and public health, and this led me to realize that I should choose a career where I can work to address health issues and inequities in populations versus individuals. My mom also volunteered for many weeks to aid in the Hurricane Katrina rescue, and I think her selflessness in such a traumatic time shaped my motivation to give back to vulnerable communities.
What issue or area of research in public health do you care the most about and why?
[Alyse] As I have taken more time to explore my interests, I have realized how many public health topics I truly love. It is difficult for me to narrow down exactly what it is that I care about most, but something very prominent to me is children’s health. I am passionate about giving every child the opportunity to grow and learn in safe, healthy spaces, and I want children to be able to live healthy, happy and successful lives. For this reason, I could see my career focusing on the intersection of epidemiology and child health to promote optimal growth trajectories for young individuals. I also am very interested in bioethics and health communications, and would love to find a way to explore the intersection of communicating and supporting ethical health decisions regarding children.
Why did you choose to come to the University of Minnesota School of Public Health?
[Alyse] I chose the UMN School of Public Health mainly because of the opportunities I knew I would gain here. I have been able to lead the Ambassador Program, receive a Research Assistantship, volunteer for numerous health studies and research departments, and now am fulfilling a role as Student Representative for the Minnesota Public Health Association Governing Council. Without this school and this program, I know I wouldn’t have had so many opportunities to immerse myself in public health outside of the classroom. It feels good to apply my knowledge, expand my network and learn from such inspiring professors, classmates and professionals.