When Alyssa Athman received her undergraduate degree in dietetics from NDSU, she already had some hands-on experience.
While pursuing her undergraduate studies, Athman completed a practicum with the NDSU Extension Service, working with On the Move to Better Health, a nutrition and wellness program for children.
She also realized something about her chosen field that made her want to pursue her Master of Public Health degree from NDSU.
“Dietetics is very focused on each individual person. ‘You have diabetes, we’re going to treat that one person,’” said Athman when discussing working with adults who have various diseases. “We’re treating the same thing over and over.”
Athman thinks that working in public health will help her reach a larger segment of the population. “In public health, let’s reach a wider range of people and change their lifestyle,” she said.
Athman is among than 75 public health students actively enrolled in the NDSU Master of Public Health program, as the group welcomes nearly 30 new students for fall 2018 semester. The program was established to educate the next generation of the public health workforce.
The Master of Public Health program at NDSU offers specializations in American Indian Public Health, Community Health Sciences, and Management of Infectious Diseases.
Hannah Hove, a Rockford, Illinois native, chose to enroll in the MPH program after working as a medical technologist at the Fargo VA Health Care System for more than five years. She chose the NDSU program for its specializations and its flexibility. Hove began as an online student and now will attend on campus.
“I feel it is really accommodating for those who have a family and work full time. I love that the classes are in the evening so I can continue my career along with my education,” said Hove.
“I worked for my first year as a student and now I will become a graduate assistant. It really comes down to prioritizing your time and being organized. I took 6 credits last spring, working 40 hours and having a family. It's not easy but it's manageable,” Hove said. “I wanted to be able to attend classes in person but have the option of continuing online if needed.”
Hove secured a graduate assistant position for the Antimicrobial Stewardship Project, which focuses on the challenge of antibiotic resistance. She is excited to learn more about public health and then apply it to her specialization of laboratory science and management of infectious diseases.
Athman, meanwhile, hopes to eventually work as a community health educator in an Extension Service setting near her central Minnesota hometown of Little Falls.
“Nearly 100 percent of our graduates serve in the public health and health care sectors across the region and the country,” said Abby Gold, vice chair and associate professor in the Department of Public Health.
“The fact that this year is our biggest incoming class tells me we are attracting students because our reputation of providing a high quality public health education is starting to spread. Our faculty and staff have worked tremendously hard to create a highly sought after program,” said Gold.
NDSU’s Master of Public Health program which began in 2012 offers both on-campus and distance education options that reach students throughout the country. Distance education students are from many states including Montana, Colorado, Arizona and Washington, as well as students from Tribal Nations. The Master of Public Health program at NDSU is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.
Public health is defined as the practice of helping members of a society live healthier, longer lives through efforts to monitor the spread of diseases, clinical and policy initiatives to prevent disease and disability, and by promoting healthy lifestyles through education and community engagement.
For more information on the program, visit www.ndsu.edu/publichealth.