Yaning Yang

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I decided to pursue a graduate degree in public health mainly because of my background in clinical nursing. While the work I have done at the bedside filled me with pride and purpose, I saw many upstream factors, i.e. social determinants of health, that are difficult to address in the inpatient setting.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC has a renowned MPH program with a strong faculty and reputable publications. The close affiliation with the BCCDC and a broad network of public health professionals also provide amazing opportunities to learn and work. One of my professors in undergraduate had visited and given lectures at UBC, and she had recommended me to apply. Having spent many years in the Midwest, I was ready for a change of scenery and experience life on the west coast.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

My program offers courses on a variety of subject matters in the public health arena. The core requirements, such as statistics and epidemiology are foundational, and I have learned a lot about academic research from them. I also have a lot of freedom in terms of what electives to choose from, which has introduced me to a wide range of topics.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

I was quite nervous before deciding to return to school and had the impression that a graduate program can be quite isolating. I was surprised and elated to have found many close friends and built genuine connections with people in SPPH.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

My previous work as a nurse has prepared me tremendously for being an MPH student. I learned how to engage with people from various backgrounds, which has been an important aspect of my current work doing knowledge translation. I have also become more patient with myself and others, to work through and learn from challenges.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

During the times of remote learning and social distancing, reach out to your cohort and faculty. They have a lot of support to offer. Also, taking initiatives in programming and activities pays off as well.


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