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Remarkable Health Sciences Grads Celebrate Time as Chargers
Meet some of the exceptional members of the School of Health Sciences’ Class of 2021 who are looking forward to continuing their education after graduation.
May 14, 2021
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Before beginning his Master of Public Health at the University of New Haven, Yao Doe ’21 MPH spent nine years working in the healthcare field in Ghana and Togo. Despite his extensive experience, he says he was very shy when he began his time as a Charger. It was the opportunities he had at the University that helped him to come out of his shell while growing as a leader.
Doe particularly enjoyed the debates he was part of in some of his public health courses, as well as the class discussions that, he says, enabled him to become comfortable presenting and speaking in front of groups.
A member of the Connecticut Public Health Association and Student Public Health Association at the University, Doe is grateful for the chances he had to network and connect with his fellow Chargers.
“My greatest and favorite memory of my time as a Charger is the warm reception and inclusiveness on campus, especially from the School of Health Sciences professors, who make every student feel like they belong,” he said. “I never felt like a stranger at the University, even during the unprecedented time of the pandemic.”
Doe will accept his degree as part of the University’s Spring Commencement. He is among the approximately 1,600 members of the Class of 2021 who will be awarded their degrees during two ceremonies on May 17.
“My time at the University has prepared me for success in many ways,” she said. “I have learned to step out of my comfort zone and take the necessary risks to overcome any obstacle because the outcome may be a great one. All of the faculty and staff have helped me and guided me while giving me the foundational knowledge and advice that I need to be successful.”
Selena Chom ’21, also a health sciences major, served as a student ambassador for the health sciences program. A fellow in the University’s WeEmbody Lab, she worked with lab director Alvin Tran, Sc.D., MPH and their fellow researchers to raise awareness of health inequity in the United States and explore ways to reduce it. She also worked with Dr. Tran to research food insecurity in America among gay and bisexual men.
As a member of the University’s Health Occupation Students of America chapter, Chom also helped increase visibility for health-related topics and organize a food drive. She, too, studied abroad in Tuscany as a junior, which she says was an invaluable learning experience. She will continue her time as a Charger after graduation, and she will begin her Master of Public Health this fall.
“Working with my peers and professors, especially those from the Health Sciences Department, definitely prepared me for success,” she said. “Each faculty member gave me a sense of comfort. They offered advice and allowed me to make my own decisions, and that made me a better student and individual.”
‘I feel ready for this next step’
Charine Blackwood ’21 was originally a biology major with a pre-med concentration before changing her major to health sciences. As an intern in the WeEmbody Lab, she explored the effects of tanning on sexual minority men and wrote a rapid research proposal.
A member of the University’s Student Conduct Board and a health sciences student ambassador, Blackwood served the University community during the pandemic as a COVID-19 testing assistant. She has also volunteered in the pediatric emergency department at Yale New Haven Hospital.
“The University’s community is very warm and welcoming,” said Blackwood, who will begin pursuing her nursing degree at George Washington University this fall. “The University of New Haven goes above and beyond to ensure that all students are included in the activities on campus such as homecoming, spring weekends, and Charger Days. These are all activities and memories that I will never forget.”
“My interest in the health sector is in building a strong foundation, not only in Africa but wherever the need may be,” he said. “The University of New Haven has not only given me the necessary foundation to champion my dream, but also, room to receive more knowledge. I feel ready for this next step, and I look forward to the challenge and the reward.”