Rebecca Kraetz is an Epidemiology MPH student at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health (SPH). Her public health experience has been focused primarily on infectious diseases and adolescent sexual health. Learn more about Rebecca’s interests and aspirations by reading her responses to the questions below.
Which degree program are you enrolled in and what do you like about it?
[Rebecca] I’m an Epidemiology MPH student with a concentration on infectious diseases. The Epidemiology MPH program is one of the top rated programs in the country, and this ranking is absolutely well-deserved. The program feels like it is genuinely preparing us for our future as public health professionals. The faculty are wonderful and treat students like colleagues. Student feedback is not only requested from the SPH Student Services Center staff and program directors, but it is greatly valued and implemented.
Even though we are in a competitive field of high-achievers, our program feels very community based. Students work to lift each other up and help others, which I believe will make us more compassionate and equitable public health professionals.
What public health topics do you care the most about and why?
[Rebecca] I am most interested in studying infectious disease epidemiology, particularly infectious diseases that arise during natural disasters and emergency events. As climate change becomes worse, this area of study is of growing importance.
I’m also interested in working with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in adolescents. Through my work in the Maternal and Child Health Division at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), I have been able to assist with the epidemiological side of sexual health and risk reduction grants in Minnesota. Additionally, my SPH applied practice experience was working with the Statewide Minnesota STI Testing Day, which made me even more passionate about keeping our youth healthy.
Why did you choose to come to the UMN School of Public Health?
[Rebecca] The UMN School of Public Health was my top program from the get-go. One of the biggest draws to the program was it’s connection to and proximity with one of the greatest health departments in the country and their diverse community partners. The majority of people in my program are fellow student workers at the Minnesota Department of Health. Also, there are many graduate assistant and research opportunities available to students. I work as a graduate assistant in the SPH Division of Epidemiology and Community Health. Additionally, the faculty’s diverse research interests were a big draw for me, and the MPH programs provide students with a vast array of opportunities locally and globally.
What do you like about being in Minnesota?
[Rebecca] I grew up in Milwaukee, WI and have family in Minnesota, so I love being able to go home often and having a support system here. Minnesota is a very friendly place and has a great sense of community, which is important to me. There are also many fun things to do in the Twin Cities area also. I love visiting local farmers markets, hiking around the many lakes, kayaking, visiting all the free museums, and of course eating Juicy Lucys!