Student Highlight – Caryn Vincent is an MPH student in the maternal and child Health concentration. She is from York, Nebraska. She has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in psychobiology, with a minor in public health. Caryn is also the current president of the College of Public Health Student Association.
Caryn first became interested in public health while participating in the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program at UNMC. Through this program she was introduced to issues of health disparities and poor access to health care. For most of high school and college, Caryn planned to attend medical school and work as a physician in a public health clinic. However, after completing a minor in public health and learning about all that public health has to offer, she decided that a career in public health was the right fit. Caryn was able to further her interest in public health by volunteering with the Friends Program in Kearney, which is a youth mentoring program similar to Big Brothers Big Sisters. She was matched with a young, low-income girl, and through this relationship, she was able to see how disparities and poor access to health care affect individuals and families. Caryn saw how devastating not being able to access health care can be for a child whose leg hurts or has a toothache, but who is unable to have it cared for because her family cannot afford the care.
Caryn’s experience with the Friends Program introduced her to the world of maternal and child health and helped her recognize how important it is to advocate and work for children and families—the main reason why she decided to pursue a masters of public health degree with a concentration in maternal and child health.
Caryn is interested in adolescent health, particularly STD and pregnancy prevention in adolescents, as well as in adolescent mental health. Her career goal is to work in the field of adolescent health, working with programs that promote safe sex practices and work to reduce teen pregnancy and STD infection.
Caryn has found that being a part of the College of Public Health has been far more rewarding than she could have imagined. The students, faculty, and staff have been so welcoming and have really helped her become more knowledgeable in public health. She also had the opportunity to take on leadership positions within the college that have helped her develop leadership skills that will help her become a public health leader as she finishes the program and enters the workforce.