On the Eve of Graduation…

By Katey Redmond, MPH Student, Family and Child Health-Global Concentration

Dear MEZCOPH,

MPH bisbee better

Seen during the Border Health Service Learning Course in Bisbee last August, and my new title

As I prepare to graduate I am occupied by a task familiar to children of North Carolinan parents; thank you notes. While frantically racing through MEZCOPH to properly thank faculty and staff, I forgot to thank an important source of support over the past 4 years: the MEZCOPH student body.

During my internship presentation on my work with Partners in Health’s Rwanda program, someone asked me what my biggest surprise was. I immediately went into a mini-rant about how I took for granted how great MEZCOPH students are. I missed my classmates and longed for our in-depth conversations during my weekends in Kigali, but my outburst has a deeper context. There is a humble and magnanimous presence MEZCOPH students embrace that is unique.

Four years ago, I applied to graduate school as a last-minute experiment, to see if I would make the cut. I have been part of the MEZCOPH community long enough to see classmates from 2014 evolve into doctoral students, classmates grow into public health professionals, and underclassmen who I TAed for flourish as graduate students. I have admired my classmates navigating parenthood, long distance relationships, and marriage amid convoluted graduate school. The main lesson 2014-2018 cohorts at MEZCOPH have taught me is everyone is awesome in graduate school. We all bring diverse identities, backgrounds, work experience, and perspectives. Yet, we are all qualified to be here and bring something to the field.

I am consistently impressed by the altruism from my peers. Whether it was Hurricane Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico, consistent support for the Tucson community, or the current efforts to support asylum seekers at the US Mexico Border, MEZCOPH students are ready to serve and mobilize. We do not dread over the stories in the newspaper, but react and put our coursework to practice. These characteristics have been consistent from my initial FCH cohort in 2014 to my awesome classmates of last summer’s Border Health Service Learning Institute. My pursuit for the MPH was challenging, but what has made the experience fulfilling is participating in a community passionate about public health.

My MEZCOPH classmates (and many Alumni), it has been a privilege to learn from you the last 4 years. Your inclusive and kind enviroment has made the last 4 years worthwhile. Thank you for reinforcing the importance of interdisciplinary work, holding me accountable, engaging in conversations that fueled my communicable disease/global health geekery, the encouragement, mentorship, and making me a better public health professional. Y’all are the reason why I am proud to call myself an Arizona Alumnus.

Four years ago, I applied to graduate school as a last-minute experiment, to if see I would make the cut. I would love to tell that college senior about all the incredible people and work she gets to be exposed to through U of A. Please continue to do amazing things (and document them here, I am still an eagerly follower of this blog!). If I can ever pay it forward, please feel free to contact me.

IMG_0374

Because of MEZCOPH, I get excited when I see succulents in unfamiliar places and insist on posing with them. Taken in Rwanda this past summer, at the  amusement of my colleagues!

All the best (now and always),
Katey Redmond

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