School of Health Sciences

Turning Points: Part 1

How four School of Health Sciences alumni discovered their calling and pursuit toward advanced degrees.

Close up of School of Health Sciences alumnus Jennifer McCullough

Jennifer McCullough graduated with a Bachelor of Science in wellness and health promotion in the School of Health Sciences, and continued her education with a Master of Public Health at Oakland University.

Article from SHS InHealth Magazine

icon of a calendarWinter 2019 Issue of SHS InHealth

icon of a pencilBy Patrick Dunn

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Turning Points Part 1

PART 1: An educational stepping stone

Jennifer McCullough remembers exactly how she decided to pursue her Master of Public Health degree: in her Health Sciences 302 class. While working toward her bachelor’s in wellness and health promotion (WHP), McCullough says a course on community and public health opened her eyes to a broader concept of wellness.

“I had this a-ha moment where I was like, ‘Yup, this is it. This is exactly what I need to go into to further my education,’” McCullough says.

For McCullough, pursuing her master’s degree was just the final step in refining her career objectives. She started her undergraduate studies as an engineering major, with the goal of eventually going into a career creating prosthetics. But she says her desire to be “more hands-on in helping people throughout their wellness journey” led her to the WHP program at the School of Health Sciences. There, former WHP program director Stafford Rorke encouraged her and her fellow students to consider their next academic move.

“The way he explained the WHP program to all of us was that its breadth provides an outstanding stepping stone to further our education,” McCullough says.

Although her professors were supportive of her applying wherever she wanted to pursue her master’s, she applied only to OU — and she says her graduate program in public health was “absolutely amazing.” She expresses particular appreciation for her professors’ “open-door” policy and the way they engage students in real-world public health work outside the classroom.

McCullough graduated in 2018 and is now working as an academic research coordinator at Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, a job she describes as the “perfect” next step for her career. In a way, she has the School of Health Sciences to thank for her new job as well; an email from public and environmental wellness chair Dr. Florence Dallo alerted her to the job opening.

“The faculty in that program definitely are a gem to Oakland University,” McCullough says. “They create this environment that we’re all on the same level, we’re all colleagues working toward a goal to improve public health.”

Read more - Turning Points: Part 2

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