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College of Public Health

Kayley Dotson

Kayley Dotson

2016 Master of Public Health - Epidemiology

Prescription Drug Overdose Epidemiologist -

Indiana State Department of Health

"If I hadn’t received my MPH with an epidemiology concentration from the ETSU School of Public Health I am not sure I would have my job today."

Question: How did your education prepare you for the real world?

My education in the College of Public Health at ETSU prepared me for the real world in many ways. I would first say that the curriculum – with the first year including all core courses – really exposed me to all aspects of public health and provided a well-rounded experience.

My MPH concentration is in Epidemiology, however, I use knowledge learned from the core first year courses on a daily basis in my current position. As a student I couldn’t say I was a big fan of the comprehensive exam but looking back on it now I am glad it was something we were required to do because it made me not only learn the material, but retain it as well. Additionally, the high number of group projects and presentations taught me how to collaborate with others on which is a crucial skill in public health.

Lastly I would say the school of public health prepared me for the real world by having a diverse group of excellent staff that provided students with the connections and experiences needed to be successful in the work environment.

Question: What is one thing you wish you had known when you were a student?  

I wish as a student that I would have known just how important all concentrations in public health are in the real world. My focus was on biostatistics and epidemiology but I use the community and social behavioral skills regularly in my position.

I also wish I would have known how crucial experience is when job searching. There are many other students/recent graduates that all have an MPH, but it’s the experiences you have that set you apart from other job candidates.

That being said, take the extra research position, work at a health department, and voluntarily work on projects with your professors.

Any other thoughts?

If I hadn’t received my MPH with an epidemiology concentration from the ETSU School of Public Health I am not sure I would have my job today. I am currently a Prescription Drug Overdose Epidemiologist at the Indiana State Department of Health and feel that my education prepared me for the position. I think the experiences you gain working in the Appalachian region are truly unique and set you up for a public health career not only in rural settings, but urban settings too.

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