By Elle Chumlongluk, MPH’24 in Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences
My name is Elle Chumlongluk and I am currently a 1st year student in the Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Science Program and pursuing a Certificate in Infectious Disease Epidemiology. One thing that truly attracted me to the Rollins School of Public Health was the Rollins Earn and Learn Program (REAL). The REAL is awarded to more than 50% of the students that attend Rollins and offers students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and mentorship. Those who participate are able to work in a variety of different sectors of public health including government, non-profit, and for-profit organizations throughout Atlanta. I believe that it is important to gain work experience to help strengthen your skills that you are learning within the classroom.
As mentioned before, there are a ton of amazing opportunities for students to gain work experience through the REAL program. When I first began my search for my REAL position, I was most interested in working for the federal government. I have previously been working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in undergrad as a SWEP student and I worked at the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County making me interested in continuing to work in the government sector. There were multiple positions open in all different levels of the government including the federal, state, and local levels. However, there are multiple different types of industries listed and great opportunities depending on your area of interest. There are hundreds of job opportunities listed for students to apply to. The career center provided numerous amounts of support when applying for jobs and can help with interviewing, resume building, and career coaching as well.
Currently, I work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Division of Viral Diseases which is housed in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases as an Internal Communication Assistant and Polio Project Coordinator. Within my position as Internal Communication Assistant, I am able to understand the internal workings of the Division of Viral Diseases, work directly with the leadership of the division, and manage the weekly update, the speaker’s series, and the website for the entire division. In addition, to complete my Applied Practicum Experience which is a requirement for my Masters in Public Health degree, I began working as a Polio Project Coordinator. As Polio Project Coordinator, I am working with a team of individuals from the CDC, NY State Health Department, and Rockland County Health Department on doing a community assessment in Rockland County on how to build trust with public health entities in the Rockland County community after the recent polio project outbreak. Working at the CDC has always been a dream of mine. The hands-on experiences that I am receiving have been critical to my learning. The experience that I am gaining through work perfectly compliments my academic curriculum. I believe that through this position I have been able to expand my knowledge on behavioral science and infectious disease.