Master of Public Health Student, Evelyn Zavala, Educates Others on the Importance of Public Health.
Evelyn Zavala, Master of Public Health student at the College of Health and Human Services, has a mission to educate others on the importance of public health.
As the This is Public Health (TIPH) Student Ambassador for the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), Zavala informs college and high school students across the nation about the opportunities a public health degree provides.
Founded by ASPPH, the This Is Public Health campaign raises awareness about education and career options in public health through outreach initiatives. To date, the group has over 94 Student Ambassadors from across the nation and has participated in 78 graduate fairs and 31 roadshow events to promote public health education.
“I was inspired to pursue being a TIPH Student Ambassador because I wanted to educate high school and college students about public health and how they can get involved or pursue a career in public health,” Zavala said. “After all, when I was a freshman, I had no idea this fantastic field existed.”
According to Zavala, the primary duties of serving as a TIPH Student Ambassador involve engaging in social media outreach, working on various health education projects, giving presentations to students, and answering questions at public health fairs.
“We get to motivate and encourage other people who don't know about public health and all the opportunities available at different universities,” Zavala said. “It's an incredible networking experience and [participants are] extremely diverse in backgrounds and interests.”
Serving as a Student Ambassador for TIPH has presented Zavala with many professional development opportunities that she can apply to her future career, such as networking and public speaking. She also represents Mason’s public health program, where she reflects on why she chose a public health degree and empowers others to pursue similar degrees.
Zavala feels that public health is still overlooked by most students. “The campaign, This is Public Health, highlights how everything around us is public health but not many people know what public health is until a crisis like COVID-19 or an epidemic is mentioned,” Zavala said.
The experience has taught Zavala the importance of working with other dedicated ambassadors to achieve the same goal of increasing the understanding of public health. “What I have seen from all of the TIPH student ambassadors is that we all do a little to make a huge difference,” Zavala said. “Even in different parts of the country, every little bit counts, and we are moving towards healthier lives for the country.”
In May, Zavala will graduate with a Master of Public Health degree and a concentration in Epidemiology. “After graduation, I hope to continue to serve my county in my role as a Case Interviewer for the Institute of Public Health Innovations, working with the Fairfax County Health Department to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Virginia,” Zavala said. “I hope to see the [COVID-19] response to its end and then move into a federal or other epidemiologist position with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Emory University in Atlanta, GA.”