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Stories

Shima Dadashzadeh '18

What are you currently doing?

I am currently a senior double majoring in Public Health Science and Biology and minoring in Spanish. I’m fairly involved on campus; this year I am a Community Facilitator in the da Vinci RLC (Casa Italiana), as well as a fourth year Student Assistant in the Public Health Program. Apart from on campus involvement, I am a Community Ambassador Intern for the WELL for Life Research initiative through Stanford Prevention Research Center.

Why did you decide to major in Public Health Science at SCU?

I originally chose to major in Public Health Science because I wanted a path of study that would be science-heavy, but I did not want to only be taking science classes. Looking at the Public Health Science major requirements, I really liked how interdisciplinary the material was.

Where did you do your internship for the PHSC major?

I fulfilled my PHSC internship requirement through two different experiences. During the 2016-2017 academic year, I was a Health Care Ethics intern through the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. I shadowed physicians and other health care providers in different clinical settings, observing and analyzing both the medicine involved in patient treatment, as well as the ethical decisions that these providers had to make on a day to day basis.

My second internship experience was through the Valeriote Goldman Summer Internship Program. The summer after my junior year I was a technology instructor for Sacred Heart Community Service Agency’s Summer Academy. I taught four classes of kids ranging from third to sixth grade, creating curriculum that incorporated health education into the content of the course.

How did the internship impact your education and future career goals?

The internships gave me great real-life exposure to all the different courses that I have taken, bringing to life topics such as equity and social justice. Working at Sacred Heart’s Summer Academy was great exposure in realizing the gaps in our education system and how that is neglecting to meet the unique needs of many students from disadvantaged, at-risk backgrounds. Both internships also solidified my interest and passion in working with children.

What was your favorite PHSC class, and why?

My favorite PHSC class would have to be PHSC 7 Public Health and Ethics. The class was co-taught that quarter by Dr. Nelson and Dr. Clark, and so it was incredibly resourceful to have instructors that were experts in both the field of philosophy and public health/medicine. I loved the challenge that came with examining public health policies and analyzing the ethics behind potential public health interventions toward health issues like tobacco use, STDs, and end of life care.

How did the Public Health program at SCU help prepare you for what you are doing now, or for your future goals?

The professors in the Public Health Program have been incredible mentors in career discernment. They are very knowledgeable and genuinely care about students’ success. They constantly make themselves available to meeting with us and that has made all the difference in my success at SCU. The idea of public health as a broader view of health with an emphasis in prevention has shifted my interests to primarily clinical health care to a more holistic approach to wellbeing. Although I would still like to go into clinical health care, I know I will definitely be incorporating public health work into my career in some way.

What advice do you have for current public health students at SCU?

Create relationships with the professors; they are an amazing resource in ensuring you’re successful in your classes, as well as in starting the career discernment process. Additionally, take advantage of all sorts of different kinds of involvement opportunities. You never know what passions and interests you could stumble upon with a new opportunity or experience.

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