I AM FPHLP 2016: Amaya Hampton

Amaya HamptonAmaya Hampton was part of the 2016 FPHLP cohort. She graduated from Louisiana State University where she majored in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Health Sciences. This past summer, Amaya's field placement was with Detroit Community Health Connection, Inc., a non-profit community-based primary care organization. More specifically, she worked with the Healthy Teens Community Care Center where she had multiple responsibilities that included establishing the Youth Advisory Council for the clinic, making calls to schedule and remind patients of their appointments, planning and facilitating health games for Detroit Metro Youth Day, and participating in numerous outreach opportunities. Amaya also had the opportunity to shadow an HIV physician at her site and learn more about evidence-based intervention programs.

Amaya faced her greatest challenge as a participant, working through difficulties with her preceptor. She says, "I learned that my priorities are not everyone else's priorities..." Having to overcome the uncertainty of working independently with little instruction, Amaya feels that the experience will, nonetheless, benefit her as she prepares for a career in law or policy. Furthermore, one of her program highlights involved forming the aforementioned Youth Advisory Council. "It was quite difficult as I had never done anything like that," she explains. "My partner and I did a lot of research to ensure that we were doing it correctly. I made so many phone calls and spent a lot of time outside of work making sure things went smoothly. I was so excited when we received notification of the first applicant. It was so rewarding." Amaya also found it gratifying to volunteer in Flint, Michigan, helping those affected by the water crisis.

Since the program ended, Amaya joined AmeriCorps NCCC based in Sacramento, California. Her first service project involved trail building and maintenance in the Los Padres National Forest near Soledad, California. She says, "My team went through numerous challenges such as flooding in our tents, mice in our food, and drinking contaminated water. That project proved to me how strong I am." Her next project will be doing taxes for low-income communities in Great Falls, Montana. After her service, Amaya hopes to start a policy fellowship; she wants to pursue a MPH/JD dual degree to work in either law or policy.

Thinking back to what led her to participate in FPHLP, Amaya explains that she wanted to work in public health but did not know what direction to go in. "I took classes that related to public health, so I had some knowledge of the field, but they were not in-depth. I loved how well-rounded the program was in that we had an internship, lectures, field trips, and community service. I knew that the program would be a great educational opportunity for me, so I had to apply." Despite being a quieter person, Amaya found friends among a group of like-minded peers with similar goals. Asked what she would tell someone considering applying, she says, simply, "Apply because the program will be one of the best decisions you ever make."