I AM FPHLP 2015: Emmanuel Gaeta

Emmanuel GaetaEmmanuel Gaeta was part of the 2015 FPHLP cohort. He is completing his senior year at California State University, San Bernardino, majoring in Anthropology and Biology. During his time in FPHLP, Emmanuel worked with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Ann Arbor, MI where he performed a systematic review on airport air quality. In addition, Emmanuel mentions, “Every week EPA preceptors would present educational lectures that allowed me to learn more about the EPA’s relationship with public health, and I was able to attend meetings where I learned about current EPA projects.”

The biggest challenge Emmanuel faced while participating in the program was having to balance work and his other responsibilities; Emmanuel took classes in conjunction with the program. Although this kept him busy, he views the experience as beneficial for learning how to better manage his time in preparation for graduate school. Emmanuel also describes the value in being able to network with his mentor, preceptors, CDC employees, and the FPHLP staff, helping him to develop professionally.

Since completing the program, Emmanuel says, “I have become more active in my community by mentoring troubled youth at my alma mater, and by organizing a large conference at my university that focused on assisting students from underserved areas.” He also applied and was accepted into his top choices of graduate programs. He plans to attend Yale University to study Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases. Emmanuel hopes to one day work at an academic institution as a public health scientist, performing his own infectious disease research and teaching future public health professionals.

For someone who is considering participating in FPHLP, Emmanuel recommends applying even if they are unsure. “FPHLP has changed my life, but I almost did not apply because I did not think I would get in,” he says. Additionally, he advises those who attend a university with a quarter system to plan accordingly because they may have to finish classes during the program.