Heather is a Data Analyst for Tracking California, a Public Health Institute program situated within the California Department of Public Health Environmental Health Investigations Branch. Tracking California is primarily funded by the CDC's National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program. The program aims to make environmental and health data publicly available through a web-based data query system, online data displays, and innovative web tools and services such as the Pesticide Mapping Tool and the Water Boundary Tool.
Tracking California frequently collaborates with community-based organizations to identify disparities in exposures to environmental hazards and health outcomes. As a data analyst, Heather processes, manages, and analyzes diverse environmental and health data sets for the online data query and data displays, as well as for specific data requests and research projects. She also contributes to the development of web content and research proposals.
"I use several of the skills I acquired at Rollins on a daily basis at my job," she says. "That includes geospatial analysis and mapping, statistical analysis in SAS, and the application of epidemiological research methods."
Below is a list of key examples of her program's work in California and nationwide:
Position:Association of Public Health Laboratories-CDC Emerging Infectious Diseases LaboratoryFellow Hosted at the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health in Raleigh
Vanessa Burrowes – MSPH, 2014
“In my position as a fellow, I am currently working on building the Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time-of-Flight (MALDI-TOF) microbial reference database for bioMerieux's Vitek MS. This database will be incredibly useful for clinical microbiology settings. MALDI-TOF technology cuts down the amount of time that diagnostic laboratories need to determine the identity of pathogens with which their patients may be infected.
Looking back at my Rollins experience, I value the research collaboration within the Environmental Health Department, as well as the attention that almost all of the professors took toward developing students into becoming productive public health professionals. I am also happy to see that the Global Field Experience program continues to be funded. My GFE in Zambia during the summer of 2013 was incredibly defining. It led me to pursue an additional graduate degree at Johns Hopkins this upcoming school year.”
Ellen Dugan - BS/MPH, 2013
Position:Florida Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Fellow, Florida Department of Health
Ellen Dugan – BS/MPH, 2013
“As an EIS Fellow, I perform descriptive and analytic epidemiologic investigation, research, and public health surveillance of disease outbreaks, in addition to other investigations of importance.
During my time at Rollins, I gained numerous skills that I find helpful in my current job. These include: SAS regression analysis skills, outbreak investigation skills, knowledge in a broad range of topics, teamwork skills, and familiarity in working on health problems without definite solutions.
One of my favorite things about Rollins was the option to take a range of classes in various health disciplines. I also appreciated the range of dedicated professors there working to address complex public health problems.”
Andrea Marina Elizondo - MPH, 2016
Position:Life Scientist, U.S. EPA Region 2 (New York)
Andrea Marina Elizondo - MPH, 2016
“I am originally from Mission, Texas and earned my B.S. in Public Health with a concentration in Public Health Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas at Austin in 2014.
Shortly after graduating from Rollins, I accepted a position as a Life Scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in New York, NY. My position lies within the Region 2 Division of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance and focuses on both Environmental Justice and State Oversight for the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation Recovery Act. Through this job I am able to promote public health and environmental equity throughout New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Rollins provided me with a foundation of knowledge that I have been able to directly translate into my work. I was taught to think critically, analyze situations and create solutions from a multidisciplinary point of view. During my time at Rollins, I worked as a Health Educator at the Mexican Consulate’s Ventanilla de Salud, worked as a graduate research assistant in Dr. Barr and Dr. Ryan’s LEADER laboratory and interned in the Texas Department of State Health Service’s Injury Epidemiology and Toxicology Branch.
My experiences at Rollins, both in the classroom and in the workforce, provided me with a competitive skillset that has set me on a positive career path. Not to mention the many professional connections and friendships that formed along the way.”
Andrea L. Martinsen - MPH, 2014
Position:Environmental Engineer, Emergency Response and Recovery Branch, CDC
Andrea L. Martinsen – MPH, 2014
“I work with the Global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) team on multiple activities including:
* Evaluating household water treatment and safe storage and environmental health work force programs in Haiti * Providing technical assistance on the design and performance of a wastewater treatment facility in Port-au-Prince, Haiti * Providing cholera response and evaluation of pilot bulk chlorination program in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania * Supporting the development of WASH in health care facility programs in Togo and other countries in West Africa.
I use the skills I learned from my classes at Rollins—particularly biostatistics, epidemiology, and monitoring and evaluation classes—on a daily basis.
One of the best parts about Rollins was getting the opportunity to work with premier experts in the field of WASH at Emory's Center for Global Safe WASH. Rollins also provided me with many opportunities to network with other agencies and organizations in Atlanta through visiting guest lectures and certificate programs, such as the Complex Humanitarian Emergencies certificate program.”
Maria Jolly - MSPH
Position: Associate for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, United Nations Foundation
Maria Jolly - MSPH
Maria works as an associate for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves at the United Nations Foundation. Her role is research, part communication, and part project management.
Samantha Parker - MSPH, 2009
Position:Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health
Samantha Parker – MSPH, 2009
“In my job, I have both teaching and research responsibilities. I teach intermediate epidemiology and data analysis in epidemiology to MPH and MS students. My research interests include reproductive and perinatal epidemiology. I'm currently involved in studies of preeclampsia, birth defects, and childhood neurodevelopment.
I found so many aspects of the Environmental Health and Epidemiology MSPH program to be useful. I still refer to notes from my classes frequently! Through my time at Rollins, I developed a strong foundation in epidemiologic methods and analytic techniques—including knowledge of SAS—I also discovered my interest areas through courses like Reproductive Epidemiology.
My favorite aspect of Rollins was the network I built while I was there. I had so many opportunities to meet fellow students, interact with faculty, and get involved with the public health community.”
Kelly Ann Scanlon – MPH, 1998
Position:AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, hosted at the U.S. Environmental ProtectionAgency
Kelly Ann Scanlon – MPH, 1998
“As a fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Indoor Environments Division in Washington, D.C., I am responsible for promoting health protection in green building standards. I also work to promote policies that aim for the sustainable life-cycle management of building products and materials.
I value my time at Emory for the relationships I built with faculty (Dr. P. Barry Ryan was especially influential), my data analysis skills, and for my various publications."
Jamie Schenk - MPH, 2015
Position:Scientist, Exponent, Inc.
Jamie Schenk – MPH, 2015
“I provide litigation support at Exponent Inc. by synthesizing scientific literature, legal documents, and medical records into objective reports for testifying expert witnesses. I also conduct user studies of prototype hardware and software that are at the nexus of health, technology, and engineering. In addition, I provide support to assess the safety of products under California Proposition 65 Guidelines.
Rollins gave me the ability to understand, synthesize, and translate information from multiple disciplines of environmental health and apply it in a tangible way to law, policy, and technology. Having an educational foundation that was relevant to current trends in environmental health made the transition from school to the workforce a seamless one.
I would say the experience of balancing coursework with work opportunities was among my favorite aspects of Rollins.
While at Rollins, I worked in Dr. Barr and Dr. Ryan’s analytical chemistry laboratory; interned at the EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection in Washington, D.C. for my practicum; worked as a TA for EH 500; and worked as a research assistant at the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in the Division of Reproductive Health. These experiences in the field provided me with a career direction and helped me build upon the knowledge I had learned in the classroom.”
Katie Smith - MSPH, 2015
Position:2nd-year Veterinary Student, University of Georgia; Biological Science Technician, USDA Agricultural Research Service U.S. National Poultry Research Center
Katie Smith – MSPH, 2015
“I'm currently studying to be a public practice veterinarian specializing in infectious zoonotic disease and regulatory medicine. I work part-time at a BSL-2 lab assisting with research on Newcastle disease.
While working toward my MSPH at Rollins, I learned a lot about the concepts of One Health and the animal-human health interface. I've found that my public health background helps me in veterinary school, because I understand the human health implications of many animal diseases.
The international fieldwork I did for my thesis was my favorite part of my time at Rollins. I spent nearly two months in rural Madagascar, which helped shaped my views of agriculture, One Health, and the ways in which animal health can affect human health and economics.”
Taiwo Talabi – MPH, 2012
Position: Senior Health Education Specialist at Moffit Cancer Center
Taiwo Talabi – MPH, 2012
“As a senior health education specialist, I evaluate and design health education problems to address health disparities relating to cancer among underserved and uninsured populations. I then connect people to available cancer resources both within and outside of Moffitt Cancer Center.
While I was working on my MPH, I was awarded the Rollins Practicum Award in 2011, which enabled me to work as a graduate researcher at the CDC under the supervision of Dr. Sundari Mase and Dr. Christine Ho. This experience taught me to manage large data sets—which I work with in my present job—and gave me the opportunity to build relationships with my supervisors who I still keep in contact with today.
Through my coursework at Rollins, I developed analytical skills, communication methods, and presentation techniques—all of which I use in my current position. It also helped me develop social and communication skills, as well as a presentation style that I use on a daily basis.
I love the opportunities and support I received from Emory during my time there, as well as the easy access I had to all of my instructors including: Jeremy Sarnat, Stephanie Sarnat, Dana Barr, Ryan Barry, the Student Services team, and my ADAP, Ariadne Swichtenberg.
I want to stress that students should take every opportunity that comes their way while at Rollins. You never know what doors may open or where opportunities may lead.”
See what Taiwo Talabi does in his current job at Moffitt Cancer Center
Position:Vessel Sanitation Inspector and Environmental Health Officer, CDC
Jay Wamsley – MPH, 2000
“I work in the Vessel Sanitation Branch at CDC. We inspect all passenger cruise ships entering U.S. waters from foreign countries to prevent the spread of gastrointestinal illnesses like norovirus. My job duties include thorough inspections of onboard food service operations (food quality, temperature control, buffet/service lines, pot-washing, etc.), potable water from the time it enters or is produced on the ship, and water quality in swimming pools and spas. My colleagues and I also conduct bimonthly classes and training for members of the cruise industry about our inspections that promote the understanding of public health as it relates to cruising.
Rollins' IH curriculum was the most beneficial for me and helped prepare me for my job. This class touched on all of the common instruments I regularly use in my career. Dr. DeLong's toxicology class had a lasting impact on me and helped me understand how and why toxicants affect us.
I also enjoyed the thesis portion of the MPH program. It allowed me the opportunity to pull together the things I had learned and the resources I needed so I could understand how data and information come together and form a picture that we can then use to study an exposure and evaluate a risk.”