Student Highlight – Michele Kassmeier grew up in the #5-ranked place on Money magazine’s 2011 list of America’s best small towns—Papillion, Nebraska. She is currently a student in the UNMC College of Public Health (COPH) Master of Public Health (MPH) Program, with a concentration in epidemiology. As treasurer of the COPH Student Association and MPH student representative on the Research and Development Committee, she is actively involved with several events in the COPH. She also serves as a graduate assistant for the Center for Preparedness Education, where she has done research in the area of home health and disaster preparedness planning, assists with administrative tasks for emergency preparedness classes, and has helped with the planning process for the center’s summer symposia series throughout Nebraska.
Michele received her BS in biochemistry, with minors in Spanish, math, and chemistry, from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, while also working as a nursing assistant at The Nebraska Medical Center. Post-graduation, she worked for almost three years in a medical microbiology and immunology lab, doing research. Through her experiences, she knew she wanted to pursue a career related to health. Her passion for helping people became the driving force that eventually led her to discover the field of public health. What better way to influence health than to learn about barriers, risk factors, and adverse outcomes associated with different diseases affecting people? Throughout her coursework, she feels she is learning valuable skills, which will be essential in the future. She is beginning her service-learning/capstone project with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services division of Lifespan Health Services, and she will be looking at possible relationships between family planning and unintended pregnancy within Nebraska.
Michele is inspired by the unique student community within the COPH and appreciates the opportunities for educational growth. After completing her MPH program, Michele is not quite sure what she wants to do, but she is hopeful that whatever path she takes will allow her to have an impact on health. Her goal is to be able to work in a field related to maternal and child health.