Story by Megan Jansson
Many Colorado State University students don’t want to leave Fort Collins after they graduate, and who can blame them? With the charm of Old Town, great hikes and outdoor recreation, and 300 days of sunshine, Fort Collins is hard not to love. A number of CSU undergraduates choose to remain at CSU for their graduate education, and a Master of Public Health degree can be the right path for students across many disciplines.
MPH student Zoe Schindler got her undergraduate degree from CSU in Health and Exercise Science and is now in the Physical Activity and Healthy Lifestyles concentration in the ColoradoSPH. She heard about the MPH program from one of her Health and Exercise Science professors. He introduced her to the idea of public health and, as a result, Schindler became interested in applying to the program. Staying on CSU’s campus for her master’s degree has allowed Schindler to continue to grow her professional connections and her personal friendships in the Fort Collins community.
“It was important to me to stay in Fort Collins, and being able to stay on a campus that I am familiar with has been great,” she said. “The MPH program has allowed me to connect with new organizations around Fort Collins, and I’ve become aware of so many cool opportunities.”
Nurse turns to ColoradoSPH
MPH student Dave Woods, who got his undergraduate degree from CSU in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts with a minor in English, is now in the Global Health and Health Disparities concentration. Woods has been a nurse in the Fort Collins community for 15 years and became interested in public health as a result. He found that many of the issues that he was passionate about, like policy change, involved public health. He first heard about the ColoradoSPH at an information booth at the Graduate Fair in the Lory Student Center and continued to do research on his own to explore the options. He was excited to find out that the concentration he was interested in would allow him to stay on CSU’s campus.
“I love CSU!” Wood said. “It’s such a great school. I also wanted to stay on campus because I work and am a parent in Fort Collins.”
MPH student Morgan Turner graduated from CSU with double degrees in Psychology and Spanish, and her current MPH concentration is Physical Activity and Healthy Lifestyles. Turner was drawn to the tri-campus system of the ColoradoSPH, which she feels provides more opportunity to network and take a wide variety of classes. Staying at CSU was an easy choice for Turner because not only was she interested in the concentrations offered by CSU, but she could use the connections she had gained during her undergraduate time to further her graduate school experience.
Already familiar with campus
“Being a former CSU student, I was able to talk to faculty members prior to committing to the program and gain a greater insight on some specifics about the program,” she said. “It also made the idea of beginning grad school less stressful since I was already so familiar with campus.”
Megan Verros first heard of the ColoradoSPH and the MPH program as she was applying for the Master of Social Work program at CSU. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from CSU and is now in the Global Health and Health Disparities concentration as part of the MPH/MSW dual-degree program. She served in the Peace Corps and worked in several nonprofits around Fort Collins for seven years before deciding to return to graduate school. What she consistently found through her work in the field was that many of the individuals and groups that she served were not only greatly impacted by various social issues, but also impacted by issues related to health. Verros said it seemed impossible to address one area of concern without acknowledging the burden of another.
“When I learned that there was a graduate degree program at CSU that would allow me to study both social work and public health, I knew this was the education I would need to better serve my community,” she said.
As a CSU alumna, Verros has always been proud of the quality of education at the university and was confident that a master’s program at CSU would maintain her high expectations.
“One of the greatest advantages that I have found in continuing my education through CSU is how connected I am to my community, both at the university and in Fort Collins,” she said. “Already having a strong awareness of the programs and services that exist within my community gave me a lot of confidence to utilize my education to network and apply my learning on a larger scale.”
As exemplified by these students, continued connections, networking, community engagement and fun in Fort Collins are just a few of the benefits of staying on the CSU campus for graduate school. More information about applying to the Colorado School of Public Health is available at https://publichealth.colostate.edu/applications/.
The Colorado School of Public Heath is a collaboration among Colorado State University, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the University of Northern Colorado. More information on the educational options at all three campuses can be found at http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/PublicHealth/Academics/degreesandprograms/Pages/index.aspx.