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Student Profiles

From the November 2012 Magazine

Shemra Rizzo smiling in front of a desk with computers
For as long as she can remember, Shemra Rizzo has loved math for its ability to make a difference in people’s lives. “While some people... love math for its intrinsic beauty, I like math as a tool to solve problems,” she says.
Nicole Hoff with a large group of children in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Nicole Hoff was in the first week of her MPH program at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine when she received something her mother thought she would find interesting – a National Geographic article on monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

From the June 2012 Magazine

Nicole Vayssier with a group of people
Nicole Vayssier’s decision to focus on a global health MPH had much to do with her international background. “Having lived in many different countries, from a young age I was aware of the social and health inequalities that continue to exist among disadvantaged groups. I feel I should be part of finding the solution.”
Dayo Spencer-Walters in Sierra Leone by a sign
Dayo Spencer-Walters found herself inspired by her professors in the MPH program at the Fielding School Department of Community Health Sciences. “They were so passionate about what they were doing,” Spencer-Walters says, “and they all had extensive practical experience in the field, which helped to contextualize what they were teaching.”

From the November 2011 Magazine

Ryan Coller speaking with a woman
Throughout medical school and his training at UCLA as a resident and then chief resident in pediatrics, Ryan Coller knew there was one more degree he needed. “I’ve always seen child health as a field that extends beyond the walls of the clinic and the hospital,”
Courtney Coles smiling by a desk with a computer monitor
When Courtney Coles was growing up in Austin, Texas, she sensed something was amiss with her family’s response to her great-grandmother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. “They didn’t really understand what it meant,” Coles says. “They said we should just pray about it and she would get better, rather than focusing on facilities or therapies that might be helpful.”

From the June 2011 Magazine

Philip Massey working at a chalkboard with a woman
Philip Massey grew up acutely aware of the struggles that come with poverty. His mother, one of seven children from a rural Virginia household, was the only member of her family to graduate from high school – she went on to obtain a master’s degree.
Annie Fehrenbacher smiling at a car wash
While in high school, Annie Fehrenbacher worked at Planned Parenthood as a peer educator. “It was my reaction to the information we were getting at school during a big push for abstinence-only education,” she says. “I felt we weren’t being informed about our own health.”

From the November 2010 Magazine

Mimi Nartey posing on a soccer field with gear and a book
When she was 15, Myralyn "Mimi" Nartey ventured far from her family’s home in Arizona to the Republic of Ghana, where her father had been raised, to play professional soccer for the Ghanian women’s national team. While there, she contracted malaria.
Eli Tomar holding a book in a law library
More than many graduate students, Eli Tomar has spent enough time in the thick of the policy-making process on Capitol hill to know the challenges – and in many cases, frustrations – of passing meaningful health-related legislation.


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