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public health

Nicole Beltran '19

What are you currently doing?
I am currently a junior at SCU majoring in Public Health Science. I am involved in numerous organizations throughout campus including Peer Health Educators, Residence Life, and on-campus jobs. My experience at SCU has been great due to the motivating community we have at the school and I am extremely excited to see what my remaining two years will bring.

Why did you decide to major in Public Health Science at SCU?
I chose to major in Public Health Science because I was interested in learning about health through the lenses of the community and as preventative measure. As a PHSC major I have completed Biology and Chemistry courses, but I also get to take courses that involve approaching health as a whole instead of individually.

Where did you do your internship for the PHSC major when you were a student?
This past summer, I had an internship with School Health Clinics of Santa Clara County and it was a truly an amazing, eye-opening experience. The internship was one of seven offered through the Valeriote Goldman Program. I worked at the Washington Clinic in San Jose and assisted with increasing the rates of patient screening for Colon and Breast Cancer. School Health Clinics is a nonprofit that strives to provide easy and accessible healthcare to low income families, no matter their immigration status, which is remarkable considering the year it has been. I am excited that I have been offered the opportunity to continue working with the organization as a Community Health Outreach Specialist.

How did the internship impact your education?
Through my internship with School Health Clinics I was able to gain a clearer perspective into my future career path by the firsthand experiences I had. Networking was a big part of my internship by connecting to and learning from others. Through meeting new people and being inspired from their work, I am now more driven to help others through the healthcare system. Another important experience was interpersonal communication that can be applicable to my everyday interactions in school and personal life.

What was your favorite PHSC class, and why?
The first class that introduced me to the Washington community was PHSC 131 taught by Professor Mackenzie. This class, which also counts as an ELSJ, is about community health and the impact that Public Health has throughout the world. Students in the class worked in numerous locations including the Washington Community that is part of the Thriving Neighbors Initiative. This course gave me firsthand experience to apply my knowledge in a professional setting and great insight on how I will be able to use my PHSC degree upon graduating.

How did the Public Health program at SCU help prepare you for what you are doing now, or for your future goals?
During my time at SCU I have found that faculty and staff not only care about the students, but also are rooting for their success. Mentors in the Public Health program have guided me to be a well-rounded individual and to approach healthcare in a preventative lens.

What advice do you have for current public health students at SCU?
A recommendation I would give any student is to get to know your professors and the work that they do outside the classroom, especially PHSC professors. They are great mentors to have and are always willing to give advice and/or opportunities to PHSC students. Also, applying to every opportunity the program provides for students is a great way to explore your interests and practice what you have learned so far.

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