Student Spotlight: How did Sara Bowman’s RAship give her hands-on qualitative and quantitative research experience?

I am a second-year graduate student earning my Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health. I came to the program straight out of a bachelor’s degree, but I have had the opportunity to gain valuable experience through my involvement in the School of Public Health.

I served as a member of the Community Outreach board for the School of Public Health Student Senate and was inducted into the Delta Omega Honor Society (see photo at left) as a student member due to my community involvement, contributions to public health research, and outstanding academic achievement. Through the Community Health Initiative funded by Medica, I have completed a summer internship through Minneapolis Public Schools Culinary and Nutritional Services and am currently working in their student consultant program with Wellshare International (a local non-profit) to evaluate some evidence-based programming regarding the management of chronic disease and fall prevention. Outside of school, I also volunteer at Family Tree Clinic as an all-options pregnancy counsellor.

My most valuable experience has been my work as a graduate research assistant for the Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health, working with a Summer Martins, a PhD candidate, to examine the sexual and reproductive health of women who travel internationally.

Working on this research study has given me valuable experience in both qualitative and quantitative research methods, and an overview of running a research project from recruitment to writing up an academic paper.

One of my main roles on this project was conducting one-on-one interviews with college-age women about their health as they travelled internationally. Capturing the experiences that people have and applying those experiences to public health research has been very gratifying. Through this work, I have discovered my passion for qualitative research and hope to continue working in this field in the future.

This research assistantship has provided me with valuable work experience as a public health researcher and provided me with some good connections as I move forward in my career. This work experience inspired me to take further classwork about qualitative research, so I took classes about qualitative research methods and a class about focus groups.

Overall, my experiences in the School of Public Health have given me the skills to become a successful public health researcher and given me the classroom knowledge to be successful in my future career. The ability to take elective courses in my main area of interest, sexual and reproductive health, has given me a solid understanding of the field and allowed me to learn more about a topic from top-notch faculty researchers.  

I feel honored to have been so involved in the School of Public Health for the past two years, and hope to stay involved as an alumni after I graduate in May 2017.

Sara Bowman received her MPH from the MCH Program in May 2017. 

Read Student Spotlight Archives

Interested in learning more about getting a degree in Maternal and Child Health? Visit our MCH Program page for more information.

#UMNMCH #UMNproud #UMNdriven