Finding Her Place in Research
When Brittney Keller graduated from The Ohio State University (OSU) with her MPH , she wasn't sure how she would fit into the broader picture of public health. She worked as a research assistant during grad school measuring the impact of housing inspection policies on health and quickly realized that she wanted to continue in research after graduation. Brittney didn't know if her dream would be possible though because of a general lack of research project funding.
Brittney learned that dreams do come true. After graduating, Brittney was able to stay on with her graduate research project for six months. Once that wrapped up, she connected with the OSU Division of Epidemiology and found work as a research project manager for a youth and family cohort study that examines predictors of youth tobacco uptake.
As a research project manager, Brittney plays a variety of exciting roles. She routinely trains and supervises interviewers, manages IRB submissions, identifies opportunities to recruit families for the study, tracks participant accrual and follow-ups, drafts surveys, and monitors survey data.
Brittney feels that her core health behavior/health promotion classes have been most influential in her work, including community health assessment, program planning/implementation, and program evaluation. She also relies constantly on the skills she acquired in biostatistics and epidemiology. These courses taught her how to structure a database, analyze data, critically read scientific literature, identify validated survey items, and write protocols and submit materials to the IRB.
One of the benefits of working for a college of public health is the ease of staying connected with the public health community and up-to-date on the latest research. Brittney is currently continuing her education as a PhD candidate within the epidemiology department. She has also taken a few classes through the college to increase her skills, such as biostatistic regression methods.
Advice for New Grads
Brittney suggests that new grads hold on to their aspirations. It's best to accept jobs that are interesting and challenging. Brittney says:
Good advice indeed.
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