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The Grad Post, Spring 2020 Student Spotlight, Addison Mickens, DrPH

Q: What drew you to Georgia Southern for your graduate studies?

A: I searched for schools that had a Doctorate in Public Health Degree in Community Health and Georgia Southern appeared on that list. I specifically wanted a DrPH as opposed to a PhD because my passion is working with communities more so than research. I was in my second year of my master’s in public health program at Morehouse School of Medicine and attended a prospective student day hosted by Jiann Ping-Hsu College of Public Health (JPHCOPH). Arriving in Statesboro was a complete change from living in Atlanta; however, after visiting the campus and meeting faculty, staff and students, I knew that this place should be my next home. It was the small-town nostalgia, the open-door policy of the public health professors, the DrPH versus the PhD program, and close-knit feeling that drew me to Southern to pursue my doctoral studies.

Q: What are your Georgia Southern “points of pride?” What is one thing you are most proud of during your time here at Georgia Southern?

A: Attending Georgia Southern as a graduate student, acclimating to the community and campus, is a little different than I think it would be for an undergraduate student. I started my first semester thinking I would not be as involved on campus or in the community as I have been at my other institutions. That only lasted a semester. The great thing about attending this institution is that there are always opportunities to gain internship experience and apply for jobs specifically for Georgia Southern students offered by alumni working in various sectors. I have been able to serve as the JPHCOPH Chairman of the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee and establish closer relationships with JPHCOPH faculty and staff and serve on several internal faculty and staff search committees as a student representative. I consider this a point of pride because it is important that faculty and staff know you by name and get to know you personally providing you with future recommendations and career advice. I am most proud of serving as the Vice-President for the Georgia Southern Graduate Student Organization (GSO). This group of diverse individuals from different colleges not only provided me with lifelong connections, but a space to talk with other graduate students and learn about their experiences.

Additional points of pride I have during my time here at Georgia Southern include learning the Statesboro community through volunteering with local community organizations such as Bulloch County Beloved Community, Safe Haven, and Relay for Life. Being in the community provides me with an additional perspective of how Georgia Southern is a great contributor to the Statesboro community. I think this is very important for academic institutions to not be the community but to share resources that they have and be part of the community.

Q: Are you a part of any research or work projects? If so, what are you doing?

A: I am currently completing my doctoral research for my dissertation. My research focuses on the perceptions of physical activity engagement among African American emerging adults at Georgia Southern on the Statesboro campus. The study utilizes a concurrent mixed-method approach using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and focus group discussions to determine level of engagement in physical activity and perceptions of barriers and facilitators of engaging in physical activity. The college environment is integral in fostering such a significant health behavior. I am also grateful for the graduate student professional development fund grant opportunity to financially assist with my research.

Q: Are you a part of an internship or co-op experience? What are you doing? What are you learning?

A: I interned with Share Health Southeast Georgia as the project coordinator for the Coalition for a Healthy Appling County (CHAC). As the project coordinator, I worked in the Appling community facilitating monthly coalition meetings and led project activities and implementation. This was my first experience where I was placed in a leadership role and I learned a lot of on-the-job valuable experience. This internship led to my employment with Share Health as the Project Manager working on two grant projects in Appling County and Wayne County.

Q: How is Georgia Southern preparing you for your future career?

A: Georgia Southern offers a lot of resources to their students, especially professional development and employment opportunities available through Career Services. Also, due to the investment of the professors to their students, they ensure that we are ready to enter the workforce. They make us aware of employment opportunities across the nation and in Georgia and leverage their networks to give us pathways to future success.

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