REAL program turns 10!

October 25, 2019
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REAL got its start in 2009 when work-study funding for graduate students was eliminated. Rollins’ Dean, James W. Curran, recognized the importance of helping students fund their education while gaining applied public health experience with vetted community partners and to make it available to at least half of the student body. The framework for the program was built out of existing partnerships with University affiliates, and national and international agencies enabling unique opportunities for students to engage in hands-on research, mentoring, and public health practice.

“We have had nothing but success with our REAL students. They provide support, enthusiasm, new ideas, and tireless work ethics and they have been a delight to work with. I plan to advocate for continuing to have REAL students work with us for many years to come - it's a great program that I am happy to support.” – Task Force for Global Health, partner organization 

Over its 10-year history, REAL partners have included 150 federal, state, and county agencies, as well as nonprofit and for-profit organizations in Atlanta and throughout the United States. These integral experiences often fulfill applied practice experience (or practicum) requirements, lead to thesis opportunities, and provide an enriching experience for both partners and students. The mentorship and skills students receive during their REAL employment enables them to thrive in their degree programs and establish strong partnerships in the field that often lead to fulfilling careers and friendships after graduation.

Future goals for the program include expanding cost-sharing opportunities to global partners outside the United States through international remote work arrangements and amplifying the impact of the REAL award by making it available to every Rollins student.

10 years of REAL Impact!

5,328 Total number of students awarded

150+ partner organizations providing employment

$22,440,000 Total awarded

 “Participating in REAL is one of the more beneficial experiences I had while at Rollins. My CDC colleagues treated me as one of their own and I could see the appreciation they had for the work I was doing. I took a lot of pride in the work I did and found the project fulfilled one of my career goals of acting as a subject matter expert to assist other public health workers.” - Jacob Horvath, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education MPH