Public Health Major Prepares for Journey to Zambia after Graduation
There are many paths Keene State students take after graduation to launch a career. For senior Andrew Reilly, that journey will start in Zambia. The public health major will be embarking on an adventure volunteering with the Peace Corps after he graduates in May. Andrew’s interest in public health began when he took a few health and wellness courses. “I really enjoyed what the classes had to offer,” he said. “The whole idea of promoting health at a bigger scale and not just focusing on one individual is what I like most about the curriculum. I like the idea of helping a whole bunch of people before they get sick.”
Andrew has been interested in volunteering for the Peace Corps since high school. After hearing Professor Margaret Henning speak about her work in Zambia, Andrew became excited to volunteer there. “It’s very inspiring to hear her stories,” said Andrew. “Hearing how welcoming and hospitable the people in Zambia are makes me excited to get to know them. Professor Henning really helped me develop my interest in pursuing global health.”
Andrew will take what he’s learned through his coursework at Keene State and apply his knowledge to his work in Zambia. “I’ve taken courses on HIV prevention and that’s what I am mostly going to be doing over there. The Public Health Department gives you freedom to focus on what you are really interested in. Based on the work I’ve done with my professors, I think that’s prepared me and given me the resources to actually take this step forward,” continued Andrew.
Andrew is currently doing an internship at the Monadnock Regional High School where he is educating young people on health issues and different topics in the wellness field. “This is a good experience and the Public Health Program here is really hands on, which has helped shape my future,” he said. Andrew is also involved in the fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi, which made him realize that he enjoys doing community service. “All the things I’ve been a part of on campus have involved trying to help others, which is fun and really rewarding,” Andrew shared.
Andrew is hoping that his Peace Corps volunteer work in Zambia will help him stand out when applying to graduate schools in the future. Gaining professional experience in global health will also help him with his career goals. Andrew said, “My dream is to work in global health affairs at the United Nations, so I think this opportunity is a good stepping stone. I’m really excited to embrace everything about this experience and dive into a new culture.”
When asked to share advice for future public health majors, Andrew said, “Public health is a very broad field, but take that as an advantage because it can set you up for so many different opportunities. The way the Public Health Program is set up at Keene State allows you to see all the different avenues and enables you to find your specific interest in the field.”
-By Hanna Quill ’20