Pioneer Profile

Laura-Lynn Schenk '17

Major: Public Health
Minor: Health Care Administration

What made you choose this major?

I began my academic career at Carroll as a nursing major but soon realized I wasn’t as passionate about the field as those around me. After suffering a sports-related injury during my second semester and spending a lot of time in and out of the hospital, I realized I still had a passion for health care. The resident assistant in my residence hall was the only public health major I knew at the time and she told me about the public health program. After looking into a few of the courses and the content, I knew that public health was a field I was passionate about and wanted to be a part of.

How has what you’ve learned prepared you for your future?

This program does an excellent job of providing a well-rounded, four-year plan that gives students the variety of tools and knowledge they’ill need to be successful. The courses that are part of this degree have helped increase my awareness of how our healthcare system operates, the many health disparities and conditions we are facing as a nation and how to best go about solving these issues. Courses required for this major cover content in global health, health care administration and policies, public health programming, community health, epidemiology, psychology, nutrition and environmental health. Having a background in so many areas of the health field has made me a stand-out applicant in my job search process.

What opportunities have you had to work closely with a faculty member and what impact has that had on your education?

When you choose to come to Carroll University you’re choosing a superior education. You won’t be a number to any of your professors. Professors here want to know you and having small class sizes creates an open learning environment for you to feel comfortable enough to get the most out of your education. All of my professors have been beyond encouraging and supportive for all that I’m involved in. They’ve come to my softball games, written me letters of recommendation, and they have even come to Carroll on their own time to help catch me up in the content I missed while I was recovering from a surgery. Everybody here wants the best for you, and as long as you are dedicated, they will not let you fall behind. I strongly feel that if I would have had to go through two knee surgeries at another university or college, I wouldn’t have graduated in four years.

What’s a unique experience you’ve had relating to the coursework in your major?

One of the coolest assignments I completed during my time here was for my public health program development, assessment  and evaluation class. In this course, you work on researching a health issue and the populations it affects. You’re given the chance to design your own public health program to work toward solving the health issue of your choice. I have a strong interest in addressing the issue of substance abuse in our nation, so for this class I chose to focus on binge drinking. I developed a public health program that addressed this issue of binge drinking among college students. My program worked to eliminate negative health outcomes of binge drinking by addressing this issue from many angles including social influences, environmental influences, genetic factors, education, and self-confidence. This class gave us the resources and knowledge needed to assess for a need for public health programming, research methods for effective program design and implementation, and also provided us with the knowledge needed to evaluate the effectiveness of our programs. These projects are a great tool to show employers the kind of work you’re capable of doing.

How has Carroll enriched your growth as a person outside of the skills you’re learning in the classroom?

Going to a small school has allowed me to be involved in just about everything that has caught my interest. I’ve been able to:

Through all of these opportunities I’ve been very lucky to meet lifelong friends and develop my professional, leadership and public speaking skills.

If you were recommending your major to a prospective student, what would you tell them?

If you have a passion for the health field this major has an unlimited amount of directions you can head, so use your field experience and internship to venture out and find your passion. Don’t be close-minded and only explore areas you think you like best, because when you venture out and explore new areas, you might be surprised by what you actually end up feeling most passionate about.

Are you happy with your choice of attending Carroll University?

I’m extremely satisfied with my choice to attend Carroll. I’ve met lifelong friends, found a major that I was eager to learn about, played my favorite sport for four extra years, and have found who I am as a person in the process. Over the last four years, Carroll University and Waukesha have become home for me.

Learn more about the Public Health program

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