MPH students and applicants are encouraged to contact our alumni. Our alumni will answer questions about their experiences as a student in our MPH Program. They will also provide information about their current employment and how our MPH Program prepared them for their new jobs or opportunities for advancement in their current jobs.
After receiving my undergraduate degree in Dietetics, I found myself at a fork in the road. I knew I was not happy with my job options coming straight out of college, and I was uncertain whether I would be able to find a satisfying career with the degree I had attained. Nothing against my background in nutrition, it created a great base of knowledge for me, but felt I needed to head into another direction.
I've always had interest in community health-based outreach and eliminating health disparities in minority populations. So naturally I would focus my next educational journey toward public health. Immediately after completing my bachelor's degree I decided to continue my education. I chose West Chester because of the curriculum, work-friendly class times, and short commute-which allowed me to work full time while completing my degree.
After my first class I knew I had made the right choice. The professors in the program sincerely cared about their students. I felt that each of my professors had a genuine interest in my educational and professional growth. The faculty led quality classes, which prepared me to successfully complete the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam; and to think critically using key theories and models in the work-world.
As a student, I was able to present my research during WCU research day and was also selected as a member of the public health honor society-I was continuously impressed with the opportunities available for professional growth and development.
The field of public health is so broad; there are limitless opportunities for me to discover what my true calling is. The MPH degree has opened so many doors for me. Within three months of graduating with my MPH I was hired for a position in which the employer was looking for a candidate with the CHES certification. My MPH degree then qualified me to be promoted into my current position within six months of being on the job. I owe it all to West Chester and the amazing faculty within the MPH program. I am just beginning my professional journey in the field of public health, but it has already taken me great places. To anyone who is considering the program, all I can honestly say is, it was the best decision I have ever made.
Whitney Smith, MPH, CHES
The Master of Public Health (MPH) program at West Chester University (WCU) opened a whole host of new opportunities for me to work in the communities that I care about and to improve access to health education and services for people within those communities, so that they can be empowered to lead fuller and healthier lives. After being accepted to the Community Health Track and upon taking my first class at WCU, I knew that I had found a “home” in which I could grow as a student and emerging professional, enhance my learning, and develop my skills in the field of public health, while building invaluable relationships with mentors, faculty, and colleagues. In addition, I initially encountered what would turn out to be an inspiring and ongoing dialogue throughout the MPH program about the practice of ethics within the field.
While studying at West Chester, I was continuously impressed with how deeply all of the faculty members within the university’s Department of Health were invested in our success as students and future members of the public health workforce. This was evident through their dedication to teaching core competencies and standards, preparing us for professional credentialing such as the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam, and creating and sharing many opportunities for students to participate in research and other professional development activities. The emphasis on collaboration and providing culturally competent public health services through a community health lens was also heavily focused upon in many of the program’s learning components. While completing my MPH, I was fortunate to have been exposed to new community health challenges and opportunities through hands-on learning and group-based work, including within the Program Planning, Transcultural Health, Program Administration, Applied Learning Experience I and II, Program Evaluation, and Research Methods courses.
WCU in its entirety comprises a vast learning environment, in which students in the MPH program are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities for professional development in many of the other departments and agencies on and off-campus. Since graduating in August of 2010, I have successfully passed the CHES exam and I currently work as a public health professional and Health Educator at Princeton University, where I serve with a comprehensive team to design, implement, and evaluate health promotion programs for students, faculty, and staff members. I am also responsible for managing the peer health advisor program, in which I supervise over eighty student volunteers who provide campus support to their fellow undergraduate students. In the future, I plan to build upon the training and education I received in the MPH program and continue my public health studies at the doctoral level.
I firmly believe that the training and preparation I received as a student at West Chester has played an instrumental role in helping me to begin and develop my career in the public health field, and I continue to reflect on my past experiences and learning there in order to inform my decision-making every day and to practice the highest level of ethical leadership. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the faculty who provided mentorship and support in a challenging and engaging learning environment, to the colleagues and fellow students who turned into friends, and to all of the members of the WCU community who contributed to my overwhelmingly positive experience as a student in the MPH program.
Emily J. Kronenberger, MS, MPH, CHES, WCU Class of 2010