University of Nebraska Medical Center

Tai Hoang

Student Highlight –  Tai Hoang

Hometown/Country: Dalat (The City of Flowers), Vietnam

Degree Program/Concentration: Master of Public Health, Environmental, and Occupational Health Sciences concentration

What brought you to the field of public health? My interest to pursue a career in public health stems from my involvement in community service and an internship project through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During my undergraduate career at Creighton University, I participated in immersive community service trips and an internship project, both working specifically with the Native American communities in South Dakota. Immersing myself in the Native American culture through service provided me a sense of connection, joy, and compassion.  During my internship, working to reduce Native American childhood obesity created my initial encounter with public health work. Community engagement and interaction with the Native American communities increased my interest in public health.

While I had the privilege to experience the rich and vibrant Native American culture, I also realized other needs and inequalities are existing within the communities that I had the opportunity to visit. Learning about their needs and reducing inequality in a community can be addressed through the work of public health, specifically through community outreach, education, and research.

What do you like most about the COPH? The diversity of students from different cultural backgrounds and research disciplines offered at COPH captured my attention.  When it comes to “interaction,” I often ask myself, “Can you relate to others?” This question can be applied to interactions at work and in daily life and is partially answered through my education but more importantly, cultural knowledge of individuals with different ethnic backgrounds. I believe that I must have a sense of who people are and their “cultures.” The diversity of the student body at COPH is unique. I’m impressed with the number of colleagues of different cultural backgrounds at COPH.  It’s interesting to me being able to have conversations with students from Indian, Pakistani, Mexican, Haitian, and Chinese backgrounds.  In addition to the academic education offered at the COPH interaction with colleagues from different cultures is a wonderful learning experience for me.

My interest in research is reinforced through classroom learning.  I am challenged and encouraged to think creatively outside of the classroom with my projects of interest. The curriculum offered at COPH challenges me to think on my own while providing support when I need assistance.  The “environment” at COPH provides me an opportunity to grow as a student and a public health professional.

What are your career goals after graduation? I would like to pursue a doctorate in Environmental Health Sciences with a focus on community outreach, education, and research. I hope to continue expanding my education in public health and working with the community.

Three things people may not know about me:

  • I’m an enthusiast for backpacking/hiking.
  • I grew up on a coffee plantation, but I dislike drinking coffee.
  • I have a habit of chasing sunrises and sunsets.


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