Alumni Spotlight: Monica Huelga, MPH

Monica Huelga, who completed her Master of Public Health practicum presentation on environmental health literacy, stands in front of the Pacific ocean with a sailboat in the background In celebration of our Graduate Programs in Public Health’s successful CEPH reaccreditation, we sat down with Monica Huelga, MPH ’18, who found herself at UNE Online rather serendipitously. Monica is passionate about the power of communication to promote global health and equality. She completed her applied practice experience on environmental health literacy at the non-profit MEarth Carmel while working at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Congratulations again on graduating last year! What inspired you to go for your MPH in the first place? I’ve always been drawn to health and distance studies. I received my undergrad from University of Washington in medical anthropology and global health, and I was trying to look at health in the bigger picture, the cultural perspective… Read more >>
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Student Spotlight: Frank Myers, MSW Program

Frank Myers Master of Social Work Frank Myers is a student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of New England. We spoke with Frank recently about what attracted him to the field of social work, his experience in the UNE Online program, and what drove him to create and host an outreach event for homeless people in his area. What got you interested in becoming a social worker? I was homeless and on my own when I was 11, so the homeless population has always been in my heart. For the past three years now I’ve been working full time with the homeless, but really I’ve been working with the homeless for pretty much all my life. I try to help out… Read more >>
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Science Prerequisite Student Spotlight: Justin Kenney

Headshot of Justin Kenney, who transitioned from music school to medical school by taking online prerequisite courses through UNE Online. Ever since he can remember, Justin has always wanted to be a doctor–but his exceptional musical talent pulled him in a different direction after high school. Justin accepted a scholarship to study classical music at Vanderbilt University, where he graduated in 2014 with a BA in Classical Music. Prior to graduation, Justin started to realize that he couldn’t ignore his draw to the medical field, and soon he decided to pursue his childhood ambition of being a doctor. Continue reading to learn more about Justin’s journey from music major to studying for the MCAT, and all the online prerequisite courses for medical school he took in between. You must be pretty talented if you went to college on a music… Read more >>
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Student Spotlight, Jeffrey L. Brown, Ed.D. Program

Jeffrey Brown, Chief Information Officer, Martin's Point Healthcare, Ed.D. in Transformative Leadership candidate at UNE Online Jeffrey L. Brown is an Ed.D. candidate in the Transformative Leadership program at UNE Online. The Ed.D. program is focused on transformative leadership and prepares leaders to transform themselves, their organization, and their community through focused, flexible study. In this post, Jeffrey talks to us about his experience at UNE, and how he feels that UNE has helped him learn new skills to be even more successful in his role as a Chief Information Officer. Can you tell me a little about your background, and what motivated you to pursue your Ed.D.? When I entered the healthcare space 20 years ago, healthcare was just beginning to undergo a real digital revolution. Through that digital revolution wave, I climbed up the… Read more >>
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Student Spotlight: Stephanie N. Marcotte, Ed.D. in Transformative Leadership

Stephanie Marcotte, an Ed.D. Student at UNE Online, holds multiple leadership roles Stephanie Marcotte is a student in the Ed.D. Transformative Leadership program at the College of Graduate and Professional Studies here at the University of New England. She talks about her experience as an online student, how her educational leadership roles have developed throughout her time in the UNE Ed.D. program, and how her identity as a leader has changed throughout the program. What are your current leadership roles? Like many adjunct professors around the country, I work multiple jobs. While I believe in the establishment of full-time benefited teaching opportunities, I have learned a lot from wearing many hats. Currently, I am an adjunct professor of ESL within a credit-bearing community college academic ESL program, a teacher-trainer, a union chapter… Read more >>
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Alumni Spotlight: Nicole Petrin, MSW Program

Nicole Petrin, social work mentor, with penguins Nicole Petrin is a student in the Master of Social Work program at UNE Online. She has her undergraduate degree in social work, works in the field, and is also very active as a mentor for rising social workers. She just recently returned from an international social work conference in South Africa, and she shares her experiences with us here. Can you tell me a bit about yourself, and what encouraged you to pursue your Master’s in Social Work? I am originally from Rhode Island, where during my childhood and adolescence I was a very active member of Girl Scouts, even going on to earn the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, the Girl Scout Gold Award. My early exposure to… Read more >>
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Alumni Spotlight: Mike Wilber, Ed.D.

Selfie of Mike Wilber, Ed.D. Dr. Mike Wilber is an Adult Basic Education Instructor at the Delaware Department of Education Adult and Prison Education Resources Division in Wilmington, Delaware, helping inmates earn their GEDs and learn job skills. He is also a GED Instructor in the Adult Education Division of James H. Groves Adult High School. Dr. Wilber’s Ed.D. dissertation was designed to examine a particular aspect of the prison population in order to look at the problem of recidivism from a different angle. It’s challenging work, but Dr. Wilber’s passion for teaching and serving others is evident through his most recent award: Region II Teacher Of the Year for 2018. We sat down with Dr. Wilber recently to talk about his experience in the… Read more >>
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Ambassador Spotlight: Emily Bartlett, MPH Program

Emily Bartlett, MPH Student UNE Online Ambassadors have been recognized by the College of Graduate and Professional Studies for being exemplary students and enthusiastic members of the UNE Online community. UNE Online Ambassadors serve as liaisons between our extended community and UNE Online, setting a precedent and standard for what it means to be a UNE Online student and community member.Can you tell me a little about your background, and why you chose to earn your MPH at UNE Online? I’m from Maine, so I’ve known about UNE for a long time now. I got my undergraduate degree at The University of King’s College in Nova Scotia, majoring in International Development with a minor in Health. After graduation I wasn’t sure what I wanted… Read more >>
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Ambassador Spotlight: Janet Quiring – Health Informatics Program

Student Spotlight Janet Quiring Health Informatics program Janet Quiring is a student in the Master of Science in Health Informatics program here at UNE Online. We spoke with her recently about her thoughts on the program, how she leveraged her strengths to find her practicum placement, and what aspects of real-life cybersecurity her practicum is exposing her to. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, and what encouraged you to pursue your Master’s in Health Informatics? I’ve had a career in the pharmaceutical industry for many years now. The industry is great, and I’ve enjoyed it, but at some point, you step back and look at how the market is changing. I’ve seen the whole dynamic of medicine shift, and I felt that I… Read more >>
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Alumni Spotlight: Rachael Flaxman, Education Program

Rachael Flaxman is an elementary school teacher in Maine and a student in our online MSEd program. We celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week by speaking with some of our students who have dedicated their professional lives to education. Teachers make a profound impact on the lives they touch, so we want to honor some of these very special teachers who are also our students, and who are making a difference every single day in their classroom. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, and what encouraged you to pursue your Master’s in Education? I was a little bit later coming to teaching. I didn’t start teaching until I was about 30. We lived in California… Read more >>
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Student Spotlight: Dr. Puneet Saini, MPH Program

Dr. Puneet Saini Student in the Master of Public Health MPH program at UNE Online Dr. Puneet Saini is a native of Madison, WI, and a second-year MPH student at UNE Online. Having completed his M.D., he is looking to complement and add more value to his education, and also delve more deeply into the realms of public administration and policy-making in order to bring about change on a global level. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, and what encouraged you to pursue your Master’s in Public Health? I was born in America and come from a multi-cultural family. Growing up in this diverse mix of different ethnicities and cultures made me very aware of the world, and I learned early on to respect other people’s values, ideas, and ways of life.… Read more >>
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Ambassador Spotlight: Jacqueta Miles, MSW Program

Jacqueta Miles MSW Student Jacqueta Miles is a student in the Master of Social Work program at UNE Online. Despite a number of challenges, she never gave up on the pursuit of her Master’s degree and her commitment to the field of social work. Read her story, and see what advice she has for incoming students. What encouraged you to pursue your Master’s in Social Work? Growing up, I lived between my mom’s and my grandmother’s houses. My grandmother took me, my sisters, and my cousins in – we all grew up pretty much like sisters. She’s was always teaching us to help, and so growing up, I discovered that I have a heart for people. I love to help. I was in the… Read more >>
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Ambassador Spotlight: Melanie Berdyck, MSAN Program

Melanie Berdyck Melanie Berdyck is a dietitian and student in the UNE Online Master’s of Science in Applied Nutrition program. We spoke to Melanie recently about her work, her online graduate school experience, and her thoughts about the Applied Nutrition program. What encouraged you to pursue your Master’s in Applied Nutrition? I earned my Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics in 2008, and I’ve been working in the field as a dietitian for about ten years now. Most of the people I work with have advanced degrees, and I’ve always had the feeling that there was so much more to learn – so I decided to go back to school. I figure that I have about another 40 years or so working in… Read more >>
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Student Spotlight: Stephanie N. Brown, Ed.D. Program

Stephanie Brown Can you tell me a little bit about your background? My name is Stephanie Brown and I am an adjunct English as a Second Language (ESL) professor. I honestly love what I do. There is nothing like teaching, especially teaching English learners. I learn so much from my students, probably more than they learn from me. Every day my students open my eyes to the world – not just in terms of content, but with their lived experiences. I am honored to know, work, and support these amazing people. They work so hard and give so much. Their passion and dedication are what keeps me alive: as a human and as a teacher. Outside of teaching, I have also taken… Read more >>
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Spotlight: Dr. Joel Lowsky, Ed.D.

Dr. Joel Lowsky, Ed.D. Graduate Dr. Joel Lowsky is a recent graduate of UNE Online’s Doctor of Education in Transformative Leadership (Ed.D.) Program. We recently spoke with him about his career, his research, and plans for the future. Can you tell me a little bit about your background? I earned my bachelor’s degree in humanistic studies and English literature; two areas for which it’s tough to find a job! So I went back to school and earned another diploma, this time in Computer Programming. This gave me access to work in the corporate world, in technology. I went on to get a great job implementing software at large corporations, but after a few years, I felt that I wanted a more meaningful work experience.… Read more >>
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Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Vicki Rusbult, Ed.D. – Education Program

Dr. Vicki Rusbult, Ed.D. UNE Online Alumna Dr. Vicki Rusbult fulfilled a lifelong dream last May and graduated from the College of Graduate and Professional Studies with her Ed.D. And it turns out that her dissertation wasn’t only interesting to her faculty advisor… The ‘National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Rural Transportation National Newsletter’ recently published a link to her full dissertation in their national newsletter. We’re so thrilled for Dr. Rusbult and her impressive national exposure! We spoke with Dr. Rusbult to talk about her professional career, and how her Ed.D. from UNE Online is opening doors and helping further her work. Here’s a little more about how she is putting her Ed.D. to good use: What was your experience like, getting… Read more >>
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Student Spotlight: Jackson Long – Applied Nutrition Program

Jackson Long, Student in the Master of Science in Applied Nutrition program Jackson Long, a Master of Science in Applied Nutrition student from Boulder, Colorado, is passionate about plant-based eating and living a healthy lifestyle. Jackson’s interest in nutrition was piqued during his time as a competitive cyclist, as he sought out the optimal diet for his athletic performance. His initial interest in nutrition gradually grew into a passion for helping others on their own health journeys, which ultimately led him to UNE. From Competitive Cycling to Nutrition Growing up in Sun Valley, Idaho, Jackson participated in and loved outdoor sports from a young age. He spent much of his free time skiing and then later got into cycling. This passion for physical fitness led Jackson to study integrated physiology at the… Read more >>
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Alumni Spotlight: Tyler Blankenship – Applied Nutrition Program

Tyler Blankenship, Master of Science in Applied Nutrition Student Tyler Blankenship, Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR), from Orlando, Florida, is a student in the Master of Science in Applied Nutrition program. Tyler’s background includes working as a chef at Walt Disney World, as a restaurant nutritionist at Sea World and also in nutrition management at a long term care facility. From Chef to Dietary Management Prior to beginning his master’s degree with UNE, Tyler flexed his culinary chops working as both a sous chef and nutritionist at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Armed with degrees in culinary arts and culinary nutrition from Johnson & Wales University, Tyler cooked at Four Star, Five Diamond restaurants at Disney. With a developing interest in nutrition, he moved on to a nutritionist position for… Read more >>
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Student Spotlight: Thomas Troelstrup, MPH Program

Thomas Troelstrup, MPH “Thanks to this terrific program, I was just offered my dream job on Tuesday as a Foodborne Disease Outbreak Epidemiologist for the Tennessee Department of Health in Nashville! I never thought I would land it by the age of 28!” MPH student Thomas Troelstrup reached out to us with some exciting news about his career this week, so we wanted to connect with him to talk about his new opportunity and his experience with UNE! Like so many MPH students, Thomas came to study Public Health in a somewhat roundabout way. After high school, he attended community college, playing college baseball and majoring in History. Shortly thereafter, he was offered the opportunity to transfer to UNC Greensboro, to play… Read more >>
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Student Spotlight: Alison Braid, MPH – Public Health Program

Alison Braid, MPH student at UNE Online MPH student Alison Braid is more than halfway through her degree, and loving it. After spending over 15 years in the professional translation and website localization industry, she wanted to make a career switch. Says Alison, “I decided that it was time for a change!” Alison is based in New York City, and most recently managed a localization team of engineers, linguists, and graphic designers, evaluating certain websites, translating and adapting them into several languages. Her day-to-day activities involved working across diverse industries and cultures, and making the websites they’re localizing appealing to each culture. With her Master’s Degree in Translation Studies, she started in the firm as a project manager, and worked her way up through the ranks of… Read more >>
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Ed.D. Student Ben Luce published in professional journal

Ben Luce, Ed.D. Benjamin Luce, a student in the University of New England’s Online Doctoral Program in Transformative Leadership, was recently published in the American Journal of Distance Education. Benjamin interviewed Bryan Alexander, a leading thinker and writer in issues of education and technology. Alexander is a senior fellow for the National Institute of Technology in Liberal Education. The two discuss many issues relating to technology and its place in modern education – including social media, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), history of technology in education, distance education, and much more. For those with institutional access to the American Journal of Distance Education, the interview can be found here. Check with your library to see if you have access… Read more >>
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Student Spotlight: Kimberly Roberts-Morandi, Ed.D. – Education Program

Kimberly Roberts-Morandi, Ed.D. student Kimberly Roberts-Morandi is a student in the University of New England’s Online Doctoral Program in Transformative Leadership. She is currently working on her dissertation with the other members of her cohort, and checked in with her about her study. Here’s what Kim has to say about her participatory action research experience and why she picked the University of New England for her doctorate in education: “The opportunity to pursue research that would document the transformative impact of an Instructional Leadership Team in a rural environment combined my work and passion for school turnaround. I have rooted my qualitative study in a district that embraced shared-leadership as a structure for implementing numerous educator mandates. The study identifies the actions and Read more >>
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Spotlight: Katy Krings, MPH – Public Health Program

Katy Krings, MPH Katy Krings is in her final semester of the MPH program and is an excellent example of how online education can be used as a powerful tool to reach qualified individuals who wouldn’t otherwise have access to higher education. Originally from Wisconsin, Katy now lives and works as a public health nurse in rural Southwest Alaska. In fact, the area in which Katy works is so remote that her patients are not accessible by road or boat for much of the year – she has to fly between these arctic villages to provide her patients with care and public health education. Now that’s going the extra mile. Some background on Katy and her career Katy discovered Public Health nursing after… Read more >>
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Student Spotlight: Brittany Roy, MPH – Public Health Program

Brittany Roy, UNE MPH candidate, 2015 This August, a group of UNE students and advisors participated in an immersion experience in Ghana. Students worked alongside Ghana Health Service, community health educators and the community to provide healthcare services to the twin cities of Sekondi and Takoradi. Participants of the program engaged in direct health services, interprofessional collaboration, community education and academic and cross-cultural exchange. Here, Brittany Roy gives us a glimpse of her involvement with the program in Ghana, and her most important takeaways from the experience. About Brittany Roy, MPH Class of 2015 I currently live in Biddeford, Maine with my fianceé. I graduated from Stonehill College in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree where I majored in Neuroscience and minored in Music. I… Read more >>
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