PhD Health Promotion and Health Behavior student and 2015 IGERT trainee Anne Julian has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
Earlier this year, she received an email from Marie Harvey, CPHHS associate dean for research and graduate programs, about a summer opportunity at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Attending the Summer Curriculum in Cancer Prevention and Control in Maryland aligned perfectly with her area of research on sun exposure and protection behaviors, so she jumped on it – and was accepted.
After securing her spot, she had to figure out the logistics of how to afford living expenses during the five-week experience. Anne was fortunate that her fiancé’s best friend from high school lived two metro stops from where the program was taking place. She was able to stay with him and not worry about staying for weeks in a hotel.
“There were individuals from all over the world who shared different perspectives about cancer prevention and treatment,” Anne says. “There were about 50 participants, and they were mostly MDs or PhDs or MD/PhDs. I was actually one of the few participants still completing my PhD. It was an intense and enriching experience.”
The NCI Summer Curriculum is open to health care professionals with an interest in cancer prevention and control. Experts from the NCI, government agencies, cancer centers, academic institutions and other public and private institutes deliver the courses.
Throughout the five weeks, Anne began to learn more about NCI’s fellowship program. And the wheels starting turning. She had known about the fellowship, but when she started hearing more about it and talking with some of the directors, she knew she had to apply.
“Anne is one of those PhD students that has a true passion and is not easily deterred from achieving her goals – she works hard, she is focused, and she is determined,” Sheryl Thorburn, professor and head of the School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences and Anne’s dissertation chair, says. “This fellowship is going to provide her with postdoctoral training, mentorship, and career development opportunities in her specific area of emphasis – it will be a great start to a research career in cancer prevention.”
“It’s up to four years of funding, and part of it funds a Master of Public Health degree, but since I will have a PhD in public health, I would be able to use the entire time to focus on research,” Anne says.
After applying, she went back to Corvallis to continue her studies.
Next, Anne traveled to Denver for the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) annual meeting to present the pilot results of her dissertation. She presented her poster, “Measuring Beliefs About UV Exposure Among Oregon College Students” to a group of conference attendees.
Ten minutes before presenting her poster at the APHA conference, Anne receive a phone call. It was news that she had been chosen for NCI’s Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program (CPFP). And the four years following her graduation were mapped out.
Anne’s advice for students interested in attending next year’s APHA conference is simple and straightforward: plan. She says planning which presentations you would like to attend can ease feeling overwhelmed. She also recommends seeking travel grant opportunities through OSU and splitting the cost of hotel rooms.
“The conferences are great because there are other people who work in the same field presenting and you see their work, talk with them and develop networks,” she says.
Next up, Anne’s presenting at the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s annual meeting in San Diego in late March.
CPHHS at APHA
Faculty and students from the college have attended and presented at the annual conference for the past ten years. This year’s theme, “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health” resonated throughout the four-day conference. Major themes included:
- Cancer research
- Latino health
- Lifespan injuries
- Sexual violence prevention in college students
- Global HIV/AIDS issues
“This year’s conference theme was particularly energizing for our college because it strongly aligns with our vision of ensuring lifelong health and well-being for every person, every family and every community,” Marie says. “The CPHHS was well represented, with more than 30 faculty members and graduate students hosting scientific presentations and poser sessions during the four-day event. We also held a lively and well attended reception for all OSU faculty, staff, alumni and friends who attended the conference.”