| by Christopher Donohue

Portrait of Cassie Kearney

Cassie Kearney is a current masters student at University of Michigan, seeking a masters in public health with a concentration in Health Behavior and Health Education. She recently graduated from Middlebury in the Spring of 2022.

Kearney reflected on her freshman year at Middlebury, remembering how lucky she was to have received a reserved spot in a Global Health course, taught by Professor Pam Berenbaum. Before, she didn’t really know what global health was. Yet, the course quickly became her favorite. She loved Pam’s teaching and how interdisciplinary the class was. 

Eventually, she decided to enroll in the Global Health minor, where she took an interdisciplinary mix of Environmental StudiesHistory, and Anthropology classes. 

In Kearney’s junior fall, she took Medical Anthropology, with Professor Kristin Bright. She enjoyed it so much, that she started looking into MPH programs.

Kearney recalled the process of applying, saying that while it was stressful, she confided in Professor Berenbuam to help her make a decision. She started the application process in her senior fall, and had to “grind through” her statement of purpose and supplemental essays. She ended up receiving and accepting an offer at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Now currently at UMich, she’s taking classes such as “Psycho-Social Factors and Psych-Related Behavior,” “Intro to Biostatistics,” and  “Aging and Health Behavior.”

In discussing future career fields, she mentioned that she sees herself working in a career that is hands-on, and directly impacts the communities she’s trying to serve. At Middlebury, she took the course Community Connected Learning, where she worked with a non-profit called Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick Vermont. In doing this, she realized her interest in food systems, and addressing food security issues. 

For students in the global health minor thinking about applying to a master’s in public health program, Kearney advises to “not get too stressed,” because Middlebury prepares you well! While she remarks that it’s hard not to “worry about how everything will turn out,” she emphasized the importance of  trying to fully enjoy senior year.

Another piece of advice Kearney relayed is to get involved with the Middlebury community. She remembered how in undergrad, there was a bit of a suffocating feeling to Sundays, where she felt there was a toxic expectation to have to grind on assignments. While that may in part be required with Middlebury’s tough workload, she emphasized the importance and benefit of giving your body the time to rest.

Additionally, she says to take advantage of the research opportunities here at Middlebury. “There’re so many professors who are willing to have conversations,” she added, and suggests trying to pick their brains when you can!

Media Contact

This article was featured in the Winter 2023 Global Health Newsletter.

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