Real Experiences with REAL

By: Danielle FitzpatrickHealth Policy & Management

Rollins Earn and Learn (REAL) provides students with the opportunity to “earn and learn” while fulfilling their degree requirements. REAL is beneficial for 3 reasons:


  • Convenience


Most REAL positions are Emory affiliated programs. Additionally, there are other opportunities with nonprofit organization and government agencies throughout Atlanta! Although I don’t have a car, I am able to use the Emory Shuttles to commute to work.


  • You keep what you earn


The REAL Award is up to $2,500 per semester – depending on the total hours worked.

As an incoming graduate student, I was excited that Rollins School of Public Health had the REAL program. I was excited to keep the money I earned but more excited about the experience and skills I would gain.


  • The reward is more than just financial:


REAL experiences offer valuable experiences that can guide your career development and choices.

Over the course of two years, I have had 2 REAL jobs. In my prior position, I served as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Epidemiology assisting with the dissemination of scientific findings and website content development. As a result, I was able to increase my health communication skills by designing printed and web materials to educate communities about health issues/risks. Furthermore, I  was able to master a new content management system called Cascade Server.

REAL Skills Learned: Website Development, Health Communication, Understanding morbidity/mortality and risk factors of populations

In my current position, I serve as a Special Projects Coordinator for the Department of Pediatrics. I plan, monitor, and execute several large-scale and small-scale projects that enhance the health and well-being of Georgia’s underserved children. I provide administrative and operational support to my directors by coordinating healthcare events, developing educational material, and refining pediatric referral procedures.

REAL Skills Learned: Project Coordination, Project Management, Relationship Building, Time-Management, Decision Making

Although my time at Emory is coming to an end, I am thankful for the REAL experiences I have gained.


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