Adapting to a new life on the other side of the country while pursuing a PhD in the midst of a pandemic is no simple feat. In this episode of Making Public Health Personal, CUNY SPH doctoral student Ivonne Quiroz shares the story of her journey as a nontraditional student pursuing a public health education. Ivonne speaks with host Laura Meoli-Ferrigon about her passion for food justice, race, culture, and health. She also opens up about how she personally navigates challenges with ADHD and hopes that her story can illuminate for other neurodivergent students and students with disabilities that they too can navigate their own path to success.
Ivonne Quiroz is from California and graduated with a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Irvine. She also has a bachelor’s degree in biology from San Francisco State University. Despite the physical distance from where she built her former career as an Organizational Director for social organizations on the West Coast, New York City was the perfect place for her to pursue a doctoral degree in Community Health and Health Policy. Not only is NYC diverse, but the programs available at CUNY SPH were a perfect fit for Ivonne. While the pandemic’s shift to fully online learning allowed her to balance her educational and career opportunities, the flexible classes regularly available at CUNY SPH allow Ivonne to thrive. While pursuing her PhD, she has gained experience as an adjunct faculty, teaching a course on Health Equity, Communication and Advocacy – a great resume builder for someone who wants to pursue research in higher education. Ivonne has also found career opportunities through her connections with CUNY SPH professors, as a research assistant at the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute. Her personal mission as a Latina and public health advocate is being realized now, and surely will continue post-graduation.
For students interested in a similar path but not sure where to begin, this episode sheds light on the application process for a public health degree, the flexibility of CUNY SPH’s programs, and the career-building opportunities available to students. Ivonne’s story gives hope for anyone who doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional college student, but hopes to make a difference in the world.
Centralized application for public health programs: https://sophas.org/
Disordered eating and food insecurity research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4903957/pdf/nihms741592.pdf