Alumni Highlight –Nicole Carritt graduated from the UNMC College of Public Health (COPH) with a Master of Public Health in Health Administration in 2006.
Hometown – Missouri Valley, IA
Current career position: I currently serve as the executive director of Project Extra Mile, a statewide nonprofit organization in Nebraska that works to prevent underage drinking, youth access to alcohol, and the related harms in the state. Community organizing is the foundation to our efforts. Our organization focuses our work on policy initiatives, enforcement collaborations, media advocacy, education and awareness, and youth leadership.
It was the MPH program that led me to my work with the organization. I was introduced to Project Extra Mile, and the organization’s important work, while I sat in an MPH class where the former executive director was a guest speaker. I was immediately intrigued that such a small organization, in partnership with communities across the state, was making such big strides to prevent underage drinking using the best science and public health approaches available to change the alcohol environment for long-term and sustainable change. Years later, when the opportunity to join the organization presented itself, I didn’t hesitate. I have a strong interest in advocacy and promoting public health policy that is based on the literature, something that Project Extra Mile does well. I am grateful each day that I am able to utilize the skills I gained from the MPH program in both my past and current positions. I appreciate most the partnerships with committed individuals from a variety of backgrounds across the state who are collectively impacting the significant public health problem of underage and excessive alcohol consumption in Nebraska and across the U.S.
What you value most about your time in our program: I’ve always known that public health was my passion, and my time in the MPH program helped me harness that passion in a way that was most effective for changing the communities in which we live. I learned that working to improve the population’s health requires action and that public health takes place in our homes, on street corners, in boardrooms, and in the legislature.
Advice for current students: Reach out, be connected, be engaged, and get involved while you’re still in the program. When you do, you’ll be introduced to public health problems and truly dedicated people that you didn’t know are working tirelessly in your communities to make them safer and healthier. By doing this, you will gain real-world experience and build your portfolio at the same time. Organizations that focus on public health are delighted when students from the COPH contact us to get involved; we’re as eager to learn from you as we are to share our work, knowledge, and experience with you.