Jeré Hutson, MPH
University of Pennsylvania, Master of Public Health Program, 2017
Delaware State University, Bachelor of Science in Agriculture: Pre-Veterinary Science, 2014
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Jeré has always loved animals, but after one semester of veterinary school, she quickly realized a career strictly revolving around them was not for her. Instead, she wanted to marry her love of animals, infectious disease, and global health, which is how she ended up in Penn’s MPH Program.
After having a couple public health-related jobs after graduating from the program in 2017, she has now landed her dream job (thanks to Penn, she says), as an Emerging Infectious Program Epidemiologist for the Center for Zoonotic and Vector-borne Diseases in the Maryland Department of Health.
“It’s so funny because every day on the job when I find something, it’s like ‘oh I learned this in school! It’s just really exciting,” Jeré said. “Every day is like a continuation of my MPH.”
For example, she’s in the process of launching a study looking at the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of health professionals working in schools. As part of that work, she and her team are creating a survey. During the MPH Program she took Methods for Public Health Practice—a required course for all MPH students—and learned how to develop an effective survey. Perhaps more obvious is the translation of the skills learned in her epidemiology classes to her current job as an epidemiologist.
Another notable experience she had while in the MPH Program was her combined capstone and field experience in Botswana through the Botswana-UPenn Partnership. The interdisciplinary approach is what stood out the most.
“You’re living all together, but everyone is doing different work,” she explained. “There’s med students doing their rotations and there’s other MPH students and masters students doing research at the hospital. You get to not only just focus on your project but learn about everyone else’s as well.”
Despite the positive experiences she had in the program, she advises MPH students not to immediately expect to land their dream position after graduation. She advises students to be patient and diligent.
“If you do what you have to do and keep looking, something will come up,” she says. “I’m just blessed to be able to say right now that I am working in my dream job and it was thanks to Penn.”
Other jobs she held after graduation include doing import risk analysis for animal health diseases at the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services. She then moved to her home state of Delaware and worked for their Department of Health and Social Services.
In her spare time, Jeré enjoys traveling and spending time with her dog, Princess Kiana (better known as simply “Kia”), who she fostered and adopted through a program at Penn Vet.