Chad Curtiss, who has completed an internship with the CDC and was later selected for a fellowship at the CDC, says that an MPH is a worthwhile investment in yourself and a gift to us all.
Name: Chad Curtiss
Hometown: Cumming, GA
Undergraduate degree and institution: Bachelor of Science in Public Policy, Georgia State University
Why did you choose the Georgia State School of Public Health?
After completing an internship with the CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network, I determined that I wanted to pursue a career in public health. I was fortunate to be invited to continue with the team I served as an ORISE Fellow. To pursue a career within the CDC, higher education is essential. As an alumnus of Georgia State University, with an Associate of Arts degree from Perimeter College and a Bachelor of Science from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, I had first-hand knowledge of Georgia State’s quality education. I knew GSU's School of Public Health would give me a valuable educational experience that I could immediately put into practice as an ORISE Fellow. Each semester I have attained critical competencies that have helped me be more effective in my work.
Which MPH concentration did you choose, and why?
I chose to pursue an MPH in Health Promotion and Behavior. I am interested in growing my skills in evaluation, dissemination and implementation science, intervention development, health promotion planning, qualitative research, biostatistics, spatial population health and environmental health. When selecting my concentration, I reviewed the required classes and the menu of elective courses. Health Promotion and Behavior allows me to tailor my education effectively by selecting courses that align with my interests. It also serves my ability to grow skills that complement my career aspirations.
What advice would you give undergraduate students considering pursuing an MPH at Georgia State?
Pursuing an MPH gives you more access to more profitable opportunities in the workforce. The professors are often not lifelong academics but field-tested practitioners who are also educators. They offer education that is practice-ready for those ready to put their education into practice. Suppose you are not in your desired field yet. In that case, you will benefit from frequent emails and Handshake listings highlighting high-quality career opportunities. If you are in your chosen field, you benefit from crafting your education to help support your competency and career growth goals. Also, it is helpful to remember that an MPH is 21 credit hours—14 classes. In a short time, you gain a concentrated experience that opens doors, sharpens skills and rewards with a network to help you excel in your chosen public health career field. If you desire a public health career, an MPH is a worthwhile investment in yourself and a gift to us all.
Tell us about your campus involvement.
As an undergraduate, I participated in Georgia State’s Model Arab League team. The purpose of model-based teams is to compete by being effective at collaborating with others. I found immense value in my experience. It enriched my skills on how to work well on a team by overcoming challenges, assessing people’s strengths and bringing people together to build solutions. I was grateful to conclude that experience by placing first at the national level. The true gift of the experience was the skills I gained that I use on the teams I currently serve.
As a graduate student, I am pursuing a student leadership certificate from the leadership program on campus. It provides me numerous opportunities to learn about leadership as an individual, within groups and in society. Additionally, I gain the ability to be a mentor, serve my fellow students and advocate for issues I am passionate about. Once complete, I will enjoy extra regalia to wear at graduation, valuable contributions to my resume and skills that I can carry into my workforce experience, allowing me to be a more effective teammate and leader.
What's your career aspiration?
My skill set is empowering and managing people and processes to help achieve meaningful work. Within the public health field, I want to be a project officer who supports the branch's goals and the efforts of grant recipients to create meaningful public health actions. Eventually, I would like to be a team lead for project officers and, later in my career, a deputy branch chief. All of the roles share a common theme of supporting the workforce’s efforts to accomplish broad-scale work that makes a significant positive impact in the field of public health.