I AM FPHLP 2019: Mohima Iqbal
Mohima Iqbal was a part of the 2019 FPHLP cohort. She graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Health Science and a concentration of Community Health in May 2020. For her field placement, Mohima worked with the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.
Mohima became extremely interested in the field of public health in her sophomore year. However, she didn’t know where to start in terms of looking for a career in public health. She was looking for a summer program that would not only inform her about the field but also guide her in the right direction. So, when she found out about FPHLP, she immediately applied. Mohima was extremely excited to participate in the program because it felt like she was finally on the correct path.
Mohima feels as though there were too many highlights from her FPHLP summer to count. She loved being able to meet people from around the country with the same goals and interests as her. Even though the FPHLPers all had such different experiences, they somehow ended on the same path. Learning about everyone’s experiences and the issues that they are passionate about in their own communities educated Mohima far more than any class could. The camaraderie that she felt during the program continued on well after the program. She is so grateful for the kindness that her FPHLP fam showed her after she suffered a great personal loss.
Another highlight for Mohima was when she met leaders of the field who opened her eyes to new possibilities and perspectives she hadn’t considered. One such event was when community leaders from Flint spoke to the FPHLPers about the water crisis. They painted a picture of the community and the individuals living there in a way that no news report could. Mohima personally felt the pain and anger as well as the hopes of the Flint community as the leaders spoke. It definitely inspired her to work hard for my own community. One of the last highlights of the FPHLP summer for Mohima was the CDC trip, which for her, was an absolute dream come true. She was ecstatic that she got to present her research to vanguards of the field of public health.
The greatest challenge for Mohima during the summer was imposter syndrome. Often, she would feel that she didn’t deserve to be in a room full of such accomplished people. However, Mohima learned that many of the other FPHLPers felt the same way. She also learned that her perspectives from her own communities (ones that she thought were not valuable at all) were invaluable to someone who doesn’t have the same experiences. FPHLP helped Mohima reinforce those ideas and now she is much more confident when venturing out to new endeavors.
Mohima recently started working as a Case Manager for a non-profit Child Advocacy Center called START Children’s Center in Troy, NY. There, she is working with children who are victims of abuse or are witnesses to violence in their families. Her primary responsibility is to assess the needs of the families, such as housing, food needs, healthcare, etc., and assist them in receiving appropriate services. She eventually wants to complete an MPH and maybe a Doctorate even further down the line. Her goals are to work at the CDC or a state department of health nationally, and non-profit organizations internationally.
For students who are considering applying to FPHLP, Mohima would tell them to not be afraid to apply. You may be much more qualified than you think you are. Your own unique experiences will certainly add to the beauty that is FPHLP. The program will provide you with life-long friends, amazing connections, and life-changing experiences.