I AM FPHLP 2016: Limairy Rodriguez

LimairyLimairy Rodriguez was part of the 2016 FPHLP cohort. She is in her senior year at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, majoring in Biomedical Science. This past summer, Limairy's field placement was with the Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) at the University of Michigan. Some of her responsibilities included, collecting, reviewing, and evaluating interpersonal prevention initiatives and resources offered by the University and its partners; ride-alongs with the University of Michigan Police Department (UMPD); and researching the culture of silence and the psychosocial factors of abusive relationships.

Limairy describes the first days of her field placement as being her favorite. She says, "Getting introduced to the Police Department's Special Victims Unit, and just about everyone who worked at DPSS, was exciting. I dived right into my project, right into the topic of social determinants of health. Obtaining a deeper understanding of health and seeing how critical that was to the individuals I was working with, made it clear to me that public health was for me." Limairy also overcame the challenge of stepping outside her comfort zone. "At times, speaking up was something I would struggle with," she recalls, "at other times, initiating a conversation with a public health professional seemed difficult to do because I never had to put myself out there like that, to network." Through FPHLP's workshops about personality and strengths/weaknesses, Limairy developed skills to enhance her interpersonal relationships and her communication with others.

Since the program ended, Limairy was offered a student assistant job at the University of Texas Health System - School of Public Health in Brownsville. She is in the process of applying to graduate programs and plans to apply to the Public Health Associate Program (PHAP) as well. Limairy aspires to be part of a dual degree Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work program and eventually earn her doctorate. This would allow her to advocate on behalf of vulnerable populations, implementing and evaluating programs that ensure optimal health for all.

Reflecting on what encouraged her to apply to FPHLP, Limairy says, "I had been exploring my self-interests and passions that when I came about the application for FPHLP, I knew I had to apply. Given that I had been wanting to know more about the field of public health, I knew this summer program would shape my academic goals..." She advises interested students to explore other fields and experience them before committing to something for graduate school. While not all participants choose to pursue a career in public health, Limairy feels that FPHLP is worthwhile to gain the experience and exposure that is needed to apply to any graduate school program and to develop both personally and professionally. She concludes, "Don't be afraid of trying new things. Knowledge never goes in vain."