Shannon Sullivan

Environmental Health PhD

"Before SPH, I was a researcher at the CDC. I was on the research and development side of things and there wasn’t much interaction with people until an emergency response situation arose."

I really liked the interaction between the epidemiologists and the patients. I had no clue what public health was until that experience! I was just a chemist who worked at a bench top when I got called into situations.

Shannon Sullivan, Occupation & Environmental Epidemiology Program

I want to use my degree to change the world. My current research is in tobacco and how natural things in the environment get into it and cause cancer. I came back to school because there were things I wanted to do that I couldn’t do when I was a chemist. In order to do those things I needed a PhD, and to be more hands-on and in the community.

If I could give one piece of advice to someone looking to enter the field of public health it would be this: Make connections with people who are already in public health, and set up informational interviews with them. Public health is such a collaborative world and having those connections down the road is a real asset. I stumbled upon public health and once I started talking to people in the field I found out that a lot of people change their careers and decide to study public health. That support was comforting.

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