I AM FPHLP 2021: Celeste Flores

Photo of Celeste Flores

Celeste Flores was part of the Michigan FPHLP 2021 cohort. She graduated in May 2021 from St. Mary’s University with her Bachelor of Arts in Political Sciences and Sociology. During the FPHLP Summer of 2021, Flores interned with Henry Ford Health System.

Michigan FPHLP enticed her because she wanted to learn from experts at one of the top Public Health universities in the nation, while also surrounding herself with students that have the same passion. During her junior year, she enrolled in a Public Health certification at her university. She learned that Sociology, Political Science, and Public Health are three disciplines that together form the root to solve many of our social issues. 

In her field placement with the Henry Ford Health System, she was in charge of updating the online pediatrics materials to ensure they were culturally correct for all patients. The materials included informational pamphlets for parents and their children, healthy recipes, and games for children. Her research was mainly qualitative and very informational. 

Flores’s FPHLP experience was nothing short of amazing. The best part of Michigan FPHLP was interacting with students from all around the U.S.  Since she came from a small school, she did not get to work in a classroom setting with people from disciplines such as medicine, philosophy, or economics.  Even though Michigan FPHLP is a Public Health program, everyone in her cohort had a different background.  It was very interesting to learn about Public Health from many diverse points of view.

If there was any challenge of being a participant in FPHLP, it was time management, since the program was online due to COVID. She had to tell herself mentally that even though she was at home, she had to avoid being distracted. Michigan FPHLP was very different from a college class through Zoom, as every session focused on something different. Topics explored included bias in the public health sector and they even talked about imposter syndrome. Therefore, every day she had to be focused and avoid distractions. She learned to be more patient with herself when it came to learning new things in the midst of a pandemic, but she also improved time management and organizational skills.

Post-life Michigan FPHLP, Celeste realized that Public Health was the right path for her. As a recent graduate, she was not sure of what she wanted to do. However, her peers and mentors helped her decide what she wanted to continue studying. She started to apply to graduate programs and hopefully in the fall of 2022 will start working toward her Master's degree.

As a result of completing FPHLP and the valuable skills learned through mentorship, field placement, and workshops, Flores hopes to work in the Public Health sector and focus her work on reforming education. Later in life, she plans to enhance and reform education in less-developed countries. Her Political Science and Sociology degrees have allowed her to develop a unique point of view in regard to education in third-world countries and she hopes to incorporate that knowledge into the Public Health field.

Applying to FPHLP is a great experience for anyone who wishes to deepen their knowledge on anything related to Public Affairs, especially Public Health.  Michigan FPHLP not only focuses on health issues, it goes deeper into the social dynamics that allow these issues to be present in our society and offers instruction and education on how to tackle them as a young leader.