#2022Trojan: Meet Colleen Corrigan, Master of Public Health program graduate

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May 9, 2022
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Colleen Corrigan earns her Master of Public Health, having previously earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and Bachelor of Arts in NGOs and Social Change at USC.

Why did you choose to pursue your degree?

I want to effect social change and improve the health and well-being of communities through evidence-based policy and advocacy. Public health offers the tools, science, and framework to fulfill everyone’s basic human right to health. The program curriculum marries my appreciation of the natural sciences and my passion for social justice, equity, and sustainability.

What has been your biggest accomplishment during your studies?

Serving as President of the USC Master of Public Health Student Association (MaPHSA) while working two part-time jobs and taking a full course load. As President, I served on the Keck Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Taskforce and led an initiative on having difficult conversations about race in the classroom.

What’s an important lesson you learned?

The first is that equity is the core value of all public health work, because nobody is healthy until we are all healthy. The second is that the environments in which we all live, grow, and work in shape our access to education, our health, and our economic security. It is imperative that we find opportunities across sectors to improve the health of our planet and our population, because we are inseparable from our environment.

Pictured: Colleen Corrigan
Photo: Laurie and Charles Kay

What’s one of your favorite memories from your program?

Attending any number of the guest speaker events (e.g. Michele Bratcher Goodwin or Dr. Dorothy Roberts) focused on race/racism in medicine, the LA Global Health Conference, or representing USC as the student delegate at the APRU Global Climate Change Simulation in the summer of 2021.

What will you miss most and why?

My professors! Along with being experts and trailblazers in their fields, every single professor I have had at USC has been a mentor and a constant source of support. I am in awe of the professors I know conducting research abroad in Global Health, directing foundations in Los Angeles, and everyone who was willing to come on a Peaks and Professors hike with me when I was a Trip Lead! My professors give me hope for my generation’s ability to achieve social and scientific progress.

What are you doing after you graduate?

In the summer of 2022, I will be working as a Healthcare Administration intern at the University of California Irvine. Following that, I have accepted a position as the 2022 Peter Harbage Health Policy Fellow with a nonprofit headquartered in Oakland, CA called Children Now.

What do you look forward to in your career path?

Expanding access to health care, safeguarding our planet and resources for future generations, and improving the quality of life for all Americans.

What advice do you have for future grads?

Take advantage of every opportunity (be it a class, guest speaker event, or club) that USC has to offer. Do the Problems without Passports class, volunteer at the school, and apply for that internship even if you don’t think you’ll be accepted. Be protective of your time and your mental health, but say yes more often than no! And go to office hours – your professors are the greatest source of wisdom you have at your disposal!

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