Meet Our Alumni

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Michelle Echaniz

Michelle Echaniz, MS '16

Michelle Echaniz received her MS in Global Health in 2016.

What do you do now?

I work at an international NGO called Pact. I'm a program delivery specialist for the Southern & Francophone African countries portfolio team.

How do you think your degree at Mason prepared you for where you are now?

My degree got me to where I am now by providing me with the necessary qualifications to get into an international development career. But also with the knowledge to be persistent and to go after what you want whole heartedly. Washington, D.C. has lots of opportunities but is also extremely competitive.

What’s your favorite part about what you do?

My schedule is never predictable and I'm always exposed to new learning opportunities. Also, the portfolio I support has many health related projects. I enjoy being able to draw on my academic knowledge while continuing my professional development.

Why did you choose Mason?

I was also at GMU for undergrad (Class of 2009 – BA in Government and International Politics with a minor in Islamic Studies) and had a great experience, so it was an easy choice for me.

What was most surprising or memorable about your Mason experience?

Having my team capstone project published in Injury. I feel we can attribute much of our success to Dr. Jacobsen, who guided us every step of the way.

Do you have any advice for students currently in the program?

Work hard, establish meaningful relationships with your professors and peers, and keep your eyes open for networking opportunities.

Victor Lopez

Victor Lopez, BS '14

Victor Lopez received his BS in Community Health, Clinical Science Concentration in 2014.

What do you do now?

I recently graduated from the George Washington University Physician Assistant Program in June of 2017 and am now pursuing an Emergency Medicine fellowship in Houston, TX.

How do you think your degree at Mason prepared you for where you are now?

My degree went beyond allowing me to fulfill the prerequisites for PA school. The knowledge I gained in the fields of public health, epidemiology, and medical literature gave me a solid foundation to build my clinical education on. Also, I couldn't have asked for better professors. I simply wouldn't have gotten through the PA application process without their encouragement and support.

What’s your favorite part about what you do?

I love the challenge and variety of medicine. No two patients are the same and you have to pull from all the resources at your disposal to make sure the patient is well taken care of.

Why did you choose Mason?

Mason has just always been part of our lives. It is a family tradition. My mother and older sister both graduated from Mason and my younger sister is there now. I remember my parents taking me to the Patriot Center for shows while I was growing up and I recently got to take my daughter to the circus while it was on campus. Believe it or not, my daughter is only 7 but is already in talks with her grandmother about staying with her while attending Mason when she grows up.

What was most surprising or memorable about your Mason experience?

I will always remember my professors. They truly care about their students and they show it every day in and outside the classroom. I wouldn't have been as successful if I didn't have them to guide me through my early academic career.

Do you have any advice for students currently in the program?

Learn as much as you can right now and don't be afraid to branch out beyond your chosen career path. Nothing is more important than a broad foundation in the world of medicine and health maintenance. Whether you are going into clinical practice or one of the public health fields, you will never have as much opportunity to explore, fail, and learn as you do in the halls of George Mason University.

Terence McKittrick

Terence R. McKittrick, MS '14

Terrence R. McKittrick received his MS in Global Health in 2014.

What do you do now?

I am the Senior VP for Business Development within the Public Health division at ICF. ICF is a world leader in professional services and technology solutions supporting governments, major corporations, and multilateral institutions in the execution of their most critical mission activities. We are a global consulting and technology services provider with more than 5,000 professionals focused on making big things possible for our clients. We are business analysts, policy specialists, technologists, researchers, digital strategists, social scientists and creatives. Since 1969, government and commercial clients have worked with ICF to overcome their toughest challenges on issues that matter profoundly to their success.

How do you think your degree at Mason prepared you for where you are now?

In many ways, my degree was a formalization of my work within the public health field and a credentialing within global health specifically. I have spent my career (almost 30 years now!) supporting the U.S. federal government in both information technology and programmatic support for public health programs. I have worked with civilian, military, and veteran’s health departments either supporting direct healthcare delivery, scientific discovery and research, public health and disease surveillance, or underserved communities with specific health concerns. What is beneficial about the MS in Global Health degree is that it provides additional context and understanding to the work I do in support of my clients. It also provides my clients with an understanding of my professional credentials and confidence that I have the appropriate skills to support their specific mission areas.

What’s your favorite part about what you do?

I enjoy starting up new programs and supporting the public health mission. Whether the work is domestic or global in nature – public health is critical to society and people everywhere. Providing support to public health agencies and helping them achieve their mission goals is very satisfying work.

Why did you choose Mason?

From a practical point of view it was the best and most convenient place to be able to get my degree while still working full time and supporting my family. GMU was a great place for me to get this degree and was a very positive experience for me both personally and professionally.

What was most surprising or memorable about your Mason experience?

I was really pleased by the quality of the faculty and the passion they brought to the subject matter and the educational experience. I enjoyed working with them and always found them supportive and helpful.

Do you have any advice for students currently in the program?

Get to know both your classmates and your instructors well. Use this as an opportunity to not only make friends, but to establish your professional network.

Caitlin Patterson

Caitlin Patterson, BS '15

Caitlin Patterson received her BS in Community Health, Global Health Concentration in 2015.

What do you do now?

I am the Women’s Health Educator of Novant Health UVA Health System. I love that I get to be creative in our health education outreach efforts. I teach health education classes for women ages 9 to 99. I plan, implement and evaluate our programs for the Prince William, Haymarket, and Culpeper, VA that focus on improving health outcomes for women.

How do you think your degree at Mason prepared you for where you are now?

I believe my experience at Mason prepared me with real-world examples of community health programs and initiatives. My undergraduate assignments mirror the type of the projects I work on today.

What’s your favorite part about what you do?

I love that I get to be creative in our health education outreach efforts. I am very lucky to have supportive leadership who foster my creativity and help me grow.

Why did you choose Mason?

I chose Mason because of the accessibility to local, state, national and international health initiatives. I felt I would gain valuable real-world knowledge from the experienced professors and that I would receive more opportunities to participate in relevant internships.

What was most surprising or memorable about your Mason experience?

During my time at Mason, we initiated the largest founding class of Eta Sigma Gamma Health Education Honorary. It was a great experience to see an organization with national recognition come to campus.

Do you have any advice for students currently in the program?

Find a mentor. Whether a professor, intern supervisor, or club moderator – find someone to mentor you. Your mentor can become your biggest cheerleader and will direct you in the best career path. I have been so lucky to have mentors who have guided me through my career thus far, and I have learned more from them than I ever could from a textbook!

Erica Street

Erica Street, MPH '16

What do you do at the CDC as an ASPPH CDC Fellow?

Watch on Youtube.

Why did you choose Mason?

Watch on Youtube.

What was your experience at Mason?

Watch on Youtube.

What would you tell a student considering Mason?

Watch on Youtube.