|This Month's Alumni Spotlight|
Connor Leszczuk, MHA
Class of 2021
This month’s Alumni Spotlight, PPH alumni student, Connor Leszczuk
Why did you choose MHA?
I feel that it provided the best value and allowed me to also fully utilize my other skill sets that I’ve developed. Being multi-faceted is one of my highest career priorities. Jack of all trades, master of none, but better than a master of one.
Where are you now?
Currently I am the Assistant Administrator at Wabasso Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, which is a Long-Term Care facility in Minnesota. I am pursuing my LNHA license and plan to be fully credentialed by the beginning of this year.
How did your degree prepare you for your job?
The MHA program is designed so well that there is not a single thing I do not use on a daily basis. I originally thought that understanding Finance, Medicare/Medicaid, and Insurance was going to be most influential to my professional success, but I have found that the leadership courses and being self-aware of my strengths/weaknesses has provided just as much value as understanding revenue cycle and regulations.
What advice do you have for current MPH and MHA students?
Be open to new opportunities and participate in as many external activities as possible. I originally planned on sticking with IT, my career while I was studying, and utilizing this education to be a valuable resource for both technical and clinical operations. However, as I moved through the program and was exposed to more specific fields far outside my comfort zone, like Long Term Care and Health Law, I discovered new found interests and thanks to the connections I established during the mentorship program I was given an opportunity to take a significant leap in my career. The fastest way to grow your career is by making yourself uncomfortable; professional growth is slow when you’re complacent. Finally, don't be afraid to reach out to Employees and Administration within the hospital and ask to shadow them. Some of my most valuable education came from talking with them and seeing first-hand how they contribute to the success of the organization. Some of them are your instructors!
Previous Alumni Spotlight
Jessica Steier, DrPH, MPH, PMP
Class of 2010
This Alumni Spotlight, PPH alumni student, Dr. Jessica Steier Chapin, is the recipient of 2021 Norman H. Edelman Award for the MPH program. This award recognizes excellence among our alumni who are 3 years or more post-graduation from MPH degree, and also honors the legacy of core faculty member, Dr. Edelman, who began the MPH program as part of his visionary leadership in the early 2000s. Prior recipients of the award represent the diversity of careers a public health degree can achieve to improve the health of populations in a variety of setting.
Jessica graduated from Stony Brook University with her BS in Health Science and Health Administration in 2008 and her MPH in Evaluation Sciences in 2010. After receiving her MPH, earned a DrPH from CUNY Graduate Center, and then co-founded a successful consulting firm called Vital Statistics Consulting. This year, in addition to her important roles (including being a mother of two beautiful children), Jess branched out on a new science communication venture. She worked with another Stony Brook Alumna (Andrea Love) to create her own podcast and social media account called Unbiased Science with over 100,000 followers. To learn more about their podcast "The Unbiased Science", click here
How did you find out about this opportunity and what has the process been like?
I am a proud alumna of the Program in Public Health and remain on the mailing list even though I graduated over a decade ago! I learned about this opportunity through the program's listserv.
What made you decide to apply?
To be honest, I have applied and been nominated in the past-- but this year felt different. The pandemic made my work in healthcare data analytics and scientific communication feel very relevant to the spirit of this award. Further, Dr. Edelman holds a very special place in my heart as a former professor and mentor. His coursework inspired me to pursue a career in the field of health policy evaluation.
What was it like delivering a speech at this year’s convocation ceremony?
Honestly, I have goosebumps just thinking about it! The pandemic has made it clear to the world that public health is not just important-- it is a necessity. Speaking to the next generation of public health professionals made me feel like a general preparing soldiers for battle. It was an incredible honor-- though I must admit I was a bit anxious speaking in front of my former professors-- especially Dr. Edelman!
How do you hope Norman H. Edelman Award will positively impact your studies or future career?
I have my plaque displayed proudly in my office. It will continue to inspire me to rigorously evaluate health policies intended to positively impact public health, and to continue my mission of translating complex scientific topics to the general public. We have a lot more work to do!