Monday, April 14, 2008

I hope I didn't scare the undergrads...

Last Wednesday, I stopped at a certain burrito place in Springfield, PA to grab bit of dinner. Parked next to me in the lot was a car with a current BMC parking sticker and a BMC "I go to school here-sticker". Excitedly, I went into the restaurant, scanning the joint for Mawrtys - alas, I couldn't pick them out. We are a diverse looking bunch, after all. What did that leave me to do? Why go back out to my car and leave a note under the car's windshield wiper. The note said, "Anassa Kata!" and my name and year. After I drove off, I felt happy but then I got worried that what I had done was a bit creepy. This weekend, I checked with my former roommate/fellow BMC alum and she assured me that it wasn't creepy and that she would have done the same thing. Phew, crisis of conscious averted.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Philadelphia/Public Health

Oh...I've been putting this off for way too long. So spurred by countless sleepless nights, I'm finally gonna get one thing off my 'to-do-list.' (Sorry Sharmeen!)

Where to start?...

In a nutshell: I graduated in 2005---a double major in Biology/Psychology and a Concentration in Neural and Behavioral Science. I took most of my classes at Mawr but also within the Tri-Co and at U Penn.

I originally planned to go to med-school but ran off to Japan instead (July 2005-April 2007) ;-P
After almost two years or so of 'teaching' English, traveling around Asia, and getting my fair share of sushi I finally moved back to the US.

Taking time-off after 4 years of intense coursework at BMC, I realized I wanted to go into a different direction from med-school and started looking at 'public health-y" internships. Through talking with a few BMC alumnae, I managed to snag a summer internship with the STD Control Program at the Phila. Department of Health---which turned into a full-time job within the Public Health Preparedness department (e.g., planning for large scale disasters like hurricanes, pandemic influenza, or anthrax attacks, etc.)

So, I'm currently living in Center City working on several projects dealing with preparedness while also straddling projects within two other departments (Acute Communicable Diseases and STDs). Day-to-day is never the same. Some days I'll be sitting at a computer: researching plans, cleaning databases, attempting to understand SAS (Statistical Analysis Software), editing several of our documents, or helping out with presentations, papers, and conferences. When there's an outbreak, I'm either helping with telephone interviews of "cases," "suspect cases," and "contacts of cases" or out in the field. My position is very flexible and most of my coworkers are young professionals.As of now, I'm deciding which School of Public Health to attend for a Master's degree...

Wish you all the best! Any questions, please feel free to ask :-)