Jason Kolodziej, MPH, earned his Master of Public Health with a concentration in community health promotion in December 2021.
Why did you choose to pursue your degree?
My father began the Public Health history in our family, dedicating a career to the field. I have grown to develop similar interests and look to continue the trend.
What has been your biggest accomplishment during your studies?
I was fortunate enough to receive the Helen P. Cleary Scholarship in support of taking the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) Exam. After dedicating time to preparation throughout the semester, I passed the exam and received my credential in October 2021.
What’s an important lesson you learned?
Health is determined by elements far more complex than simply diet, exercise, or genetics. A person or community needs to be understood as comprehensively as possible to best address health challenges.
What’s one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of the group projects in the program consisted of a Community Health Assessment and I was able to work with my group to research and understand the greater community encompassing where I live. It was extremely interesting to look at my community through quantitative data and demographic trends and better understand my local region in Los Angeles.
What will you miss most and why?
I will miss the broadening reading, watching, and listening assignments assigned by the professors of the program as well as those recommended by other students. Now in the workforce full-time, my attention is much more focused and I have less opportunity to academically explore.
What are you doing now that you have graduated?
I am currently working as a Leadership Fellow for Wallis Annenberg GenSpace and will begin a Public Health Associate Program (PHAP) position under the CDC assigned to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in October.
What do you look forward to in your career path?
I look forward to helping improve health literacy and providing a health benefit to communities in need.
What advice do you have for future grads?
Pull some of the threads that are distributed through your program administrators. Almost all of the opportunities I was able to take advantage of came by way of emails from our academic and career counselors. Worst case, you get practice articulating answers to application prompts. Best case, you are selected to follow the opportunity and gain experience.