Becky Hamm lives and works in Washington D.C. while studying public health online with the University of Michigan School of Public Health. The full-time software engineer is currently earning her Master of Public Health degree in Population and Health Sciences. Recently, Becky answered prospective students’ questions about earning her MPH online and shared her own perspective as a first year master’s student in the program.
First, she shared why she chose the online MPH program with Michigan Public Health. The fact that she works full-time was a major factor, saying “I couldn’t afford to quit [my job] to go get my master’s degree so, I needed a program geared toward full-time employment.” Hand-in-hand with continuing to work is the need for a flexible schedule. Becky says the MPH program allows [her] to “do school and have a life.”
For Becky, a weekday’s workload might include one live class session on Zoom and fitting in studying before or after work for a couple of hours. “On weekends I dedicate one morning or afternoon to school work. Most of the time we only take one class at a time, so it’s very manageable!”
As an engineer, Becky came into the program with very little public health experience. Having a curriculum designed to provide broad training and instruction in public health gave her confidence, knowing that she would be able to guide her own studies rather than be stifled by required courses. She wanted to “learn about public health disciplines broadly and then be able to choose areas that piqued [her] interests.”
Becky’s choice to attend was also influenced by the support she knew she’d get, noting that “the faculty are incredible! All of my professors have been attentive, helpful, and want to see us succeed.”
She recently wrapped up the elective series “Analyzing Health Data” and was glad to expand her skills in working with data. “I love building things from data. I know with this master’s, I can analyze and build things that improve the public’s overall health and quality of life.” She wishes she had the time to take even more classes, saying “I thought Social Determinants of Health was eye-opening. I also enjoyed Applied Regression…I could really start putting what I’d learned to good use.”
The Population and Health Sciences cohort includes students from a variety of backgrounds, and for Becky, that is a big benefit to her learning. For her, one of the best parts of this program is “getting to learn about my classmates’ experiences.” Even as a student who has been away from the classroom for some time, she says the diversity of the cohort means she can fit right in. “My cohort spans from folks just out of undergrad to those 20+ years my senior. It’s never too late to start a new career, I’m proof of that.”
Applications are now open for the Master of Science and Master of Public Health programs in Population and Health Sciences. Learn more about the online Master’s degrees from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
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