Get to know a public health student – Shelby Hintze Jepperson

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I am from Sioux Falls SD, I graduated high school from Lincoln High School. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Sioux Falls. While in obtaining my undergraduate degree and in the years after, I also took undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology, due to my interest in mental health.

How did you get interested in public health? With an interest in the medical field, mental health, and human subjects research, I found public health to be a way to have a potential impact on all three. Also, having worked in a variety of medical and human subject research jobs over the past ten years I have seen how SD can improve the well-being of its citizens.

Where are you going to school? I currently attend the University of New England in Maine in the Master of Public Health program. I plan to complete the program mid-2015.

How did you choose your school? Having moved across the country before with the intent to obtain a graduate degree, I knew that option would not be available now that I was established in SD. I started with a spreadsheet of all the public health programs I could find in the United States incorporating accreditation, cost, and amount of time required on site. I found UNE to be CEPH accredited, on the lower spectrum for cost, and entirely online, so a good fit for my current lifestyle.

How are you experiencing distance education? It is going very smoothly! I would prefer having classmates in person, but technology does wonders allowing for video conferencing and networking.

What are some challenges to being a public health student in SD?

UNE’s MPH program has a great mix of people from the rural state of Maine and the metro area of Boston, but many do not understand the issues the Midwest faces.

Is there anything else that you’d like us to know?

Working in a small population, low density state can be very challenging for any field, especially public health, but I can envision many plausible solutions if only public health awareness and cooperation are enhanced!