Shannon Irvine, MPH22
A huge perk of our online MPH program is that students can get the same rigorous education as our on-campus program but from anywhere in the country. Meet Shannon Irvine, MPH22, and learn more about her experience in the Tufts online MPH program.
Why did you choose to pursue this degree?
"When I chose to venture into health care, I had always assumed that my role would be clinical. I thought that the exam room was the most effective place to provide care for my community. That opinion changed when I worked as a medical assistant at a federally qualified health center during the first year of the pandemic. I realized the importance of community health: that while an efficient, capable, and productive medical field is critical to public safety, we as a country cannot rely solely on clinical, frontline workers to battle both disease and health inequities. Public health seemed like the perfect marriage between my love for health care and my love for my community."
Why did you choose Tufts to pursue this degree?
"I chose the Tufts online MPH program due to their commitment to community health, their emphasis on encouraging intellectual curiosity, and their dedication to fostering leadership skills among their graduates. These values shone through all of my conversations with the admissions office and MPH students before I was even accepted into the program. I felt strongly that the Tufts commitment to humanism, social responsibility, and productive community partnership matched my values and encompassed my career goals."
What has your experience it the online MPH program been like so far?
"The Tufts online MPH program has far exceeded my wildest expectations regarding both the knowledge I’ve gained and the friendships I’ve made. My cohort is incredibly close and supportive of one another, and I know these are connections I will have for the rest of my life. I have been given many opportunities to give back to my community through both research and the capstone Applied Learning Experience (ALE) project, and the emphasis that the program places on developing competent, empathetic, and well-rounded graduates is palpable. I am incredibly grateful for my time at Tufts."
What is your favorite aspect about the program?
"The faculty have been absolutely wonderful in cultivating a collegial and supportive atmosphere. I lived in Michigan for the duration of the program, so I was glad to see that the lack of in-person interaction did not impact my ability to form relationships with classmates or connect with faculty. I also very much appreciated the breadth and depth of methodologies that we were exposed to. Additionally, being in the Epidemiology/Biostatistics concentration, I fully expected a completely quantitative course load. I was surprised and pleased to see that classes focusing on qualitative methodology and program evaluation were also a part of the curriculum. I feel that we were given a comprehensive education on public health research methods, and that will enable us to conduct and review public health research more effectively and efficiently in our future careers."
What has been your proudest accomplishment while being in the program?
"I am incredibly proud of the publications I have been a part of during my time at Tufts. Once I had a couple terms of biostatistics and Stata experience under my belt, I was given the opportunity to work with Dr. Kimberly Nguyen on a number of COVID-19 vaccine research papers, two of which have already been published. This was a great opportunity to see how public health research is actually conducted, and it gave me the opportunity to put my biostatistical skills to good use."
What do you wish to accomplish upon graduation?
"It is my intention to continue on to medical school, after which I will combine my MD and MPH degrees to work in the public health field. My current ambitious aspiration is to be a part of the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service, but I am also incredibly passionate about women’s health and clinical trial diversity. This program opened my eyes to how crucial diverse trial participation is to advancing health equity, and I would love to have a hand in coordinating those efforts."
What do you want a prospective student to know about Tufts?
"Tufts is a community that will challenge you academically as a student, but will also support you as a person. All of the faculty genuinely want you to succeed, and they can become incredible mentors if you are willing to reach out to them and foster connections. The online MPH program is not easy, but it is worth it for the incomparable skills that you gain as a result of your efforts and your hard work. If given the opportunity, I would choose Tufts again in a heartbeat."