Horney talks health

Students filled the College of Arts and Sciences conference room in Peck Hall Wednesday for the women’s studies department’s first “Coffee with Cool Women” event of the semester.

The “cool woman” guest of the hour, Jennifer Horney, talked with students about the public health profession and gave them insight on their future careers.

Horney, currently deputy director at University of North Carolina’s Center for Public Health Preparedness, studied economics as an undergraduate and earned a master’s of arts in art history. She then returned for a master’s of public health degree and a doctoral degree in epidemiology, the study of health events in society.

Jennifer Horney, deputy director at UNC's Center for Public Health Preparedness

Horney has been a member of a team of public health practitioner who responded to hurricanes Isabel, Charley, Katrina and Wilma. She has also traveled to Southeast Asia and Central America to provide assistance in public health responses to infectious disease outbreaks.

“The really cool thing about epidemiology as opposed to more community health or health behavior is that we get to do a lot of stuff with the emerging and remerging diseaes,” Horney said. “So the past few years it has been really exciting from an epidemiology perspective because we’ve had avian flu, we’ve had SARS, then we had H1N1. So there have been a lot of opportunities to do really cool stuff.”

Horney told the students that the place to be currently in the public health profession is the active living and sustainable community study and work. She also addressed their fears of taking the GRE and stressed the importance that the internships in the profession are great indicators that a new person entering the public health field is hirable, even if he or she didn’t particularly like sticking out all the required hours for the internship.

Catherine Seltzer, director of the women’s studies program, said the Coffee with Cool Women events are set up to help students feel better and gain better outside knowledge about their hopeful profession.

“We’re not giving anyone any practical advice,” she said. “Instead, what the series is about is collecting people in a variety of different fields in different disciplines who are really successful and who love what they do. And we’re asking them to tell us their real stories, the real deal on how things all lead to a wonderful end. Sometimes hearing other peoples’ stories is as valuable as being told exactly what steps you should follow to advance your career.”

The next Coffee with Cool Women will be at 1 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Women’s Studies office in Peck 4207. The event, co-sponsored by the Black Studies program, will feature Dail Chambers, founder of the Yeyo Arts Collective and Gya Community Gallery in St. Louis.

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