“De donde viene su agua potable,” I asked. The eighty-something El Salvadorian said he obtained his drinking water from the river. It was the same river he and his neighbors bathed in, and the same river receiving run-off of excrement washed down the hillside along with pesticides from the local coffee plantation. I cringed at the thought of the numerous toxic and infectious agents lurking in every sip. My mind rushed through my knowledge base of water quality and safety. So far removed from safe water & water distribution systems, the thought of cross-connections & backflow was absolutely inconsequential. Only basic camping treatments like boiling and iodine would be applicable. From my experiences, my interest in health issues has been sparked and now I need the academic and professional training to become a leader in public health.
My education and professional background have adequately prepared me to excel in graduate studies at SUNY Albany, although my circuitous path has encountered a few bumps. During my undergraduate education I did not recognize the importance of performing well academically as I felt no strong passion in a particular field and lacked direction as reflected in classes taken and inconsistent grades. I studied Earth Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz. While I valued the science background and awareness of the environment my studies gave me, I knew I did not want to pursue a career in this field. I am not proud of my previous undergraduate performance and mistakes, but from them I have learned hard lessons and am now very focused and ambitious.
A couple of years after graduation while working at a professionally and intellectually unfulfilling job, following a close friend’s cancer diagnosis, and after much self reflection, I realized my desire to pursue a career in health. I began pre-health studies at Stony Brook University and excelled. My basic biology classes only inspired me to continue onto more challenging courses such as biochemistry and cancer biology. Organic chemistry syntheses problems exercised my creativity and critical thinking and my biology laboratory allowed me design, carry out, and report my own experiment on the effect of energy drinks on heart rate. Today I have the preparation necessary to take on graduate coursework.
I wish to obtain a Master of Public Health in the Environmental Health concentration because it will enable me to fully pursue my academic interests in toxicology as well as water and food-borne illnesses, while providing exceptional opportunities at the New York State Department of Health. SUNY Albany’s program possesses the required coursework and elective options for which I am looking. I am interested in the breadth of courses such as Social and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health as well as the specific training I will receive in concentration courses like Risk...