One of the main reasons I decided on Rollins was the proximity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When we say we’re close, I mean CDC is right next door. The relationship between Rollins and CDC is longstanding and impressive. Professors are often working directly for CDC programs in addition to their appointments at Emory. Many students are at CDC for their Rollins Earn and Learn (REAL) jobs, while others may find their summers doing their practicums/Applied Practice Experiences (APEs) there. I was lucky enough to have had both.
Since starting at Rollins, I’ve had two positions at CDC. My REAL position is as an Epidemiology Assistant with the Birth Defects Branch. I work primarily with epidemiologists and physician researchers on CDC’s Metropolitan Atlanta Congenital Defects Program, which conducts active surveillance in Atlanta for a multitude of birth defects. Even in my first semester, I was able to work with real data and see firsthand what federal epidemiology surveillance looks like. Since my focus is on maternal and child health, and I had such a wonderful experience the last two semesters, I am continuing my REAL position with the Birth Defects Branch this year. My supervisors are wonderful and always willing to help me learn more.
My practicum, similar to what’s now an APE, was also at CDC. After telling my REAL supervisor that my practicum needed to be globally focused (I’m GLEPI) she put me in touch with the Epidemiologist who became practicum supervisor. I was able to work with the International Zika in Pregnancy and Infant Research Study and perform data analyses here in Atlanta in addition to traveling to Colombia to do data monitoring and evaluation.
There are many Rollins students who work at CDC across almost all of the branches and campuses here in Atlanta. Putting my classroom skills to use while having the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leaders across all areas of public health has been invaluable, and I’m happy to be back with CDC for year two!