I AM FPHLP 2022: Jillian Fuss

I AM FPHLP 2022: Jillian FussJillian Fuss was part of the Michigan FPHLP 2022 cohort. She is currently a senior at the University of Washington majoring in Medical Anthropology and Global Health and minoring in Microbiology. During FPHLP 2022, Jillian interned with Unified HIV Health and Beyond (Detroit).

Jillian was enticed to participate in Michigan FPHLP due to the opportunities provided by the program. She felt that the program would greatly enhance her confidence as a scholar in public health due to the program's internships and educational experiences. Jillian’s decision was further strengthened when she had learned about previous experiences from past participants.

During her field placement with Unified HIV Health and Beyond, Jillian coordinated with University of Michigan research staff and Unified staff to begin the HIV Stigma Index project. She regularly provided feedback and ideas for the project. Additionally, she hosted educational tables with resources at community events. Jillian’s final project as an intern was focused on connecting healthcare providers with Unified's resources for patients who have been newly diagnosed with HIV.

As a Pacific Islander student, Jillian says, “it can be difficult to find mentors and guidance in undergraduate programs”. Michigan FPHLP connected Jillian with a Pacific Islander faculty member, Dr. Sela Panapasa, who greatly influenced her passion and drive for the public health field. Jillian truly appreciated this connection and will always remember the staff members who went above and beyond for students. She was selected as the staff's pick for a speaker for the cohort and this was a major highlight for the summer. Jillian learned how to incorporate her pre-existing knowledge and experience with public speaking with the new experiences she was gaining while attending FPHLP. This opportunity ultimately strengthened her confidence to represent herself in the public health field as well as reflect on her career and personal development. Additionally, she appreciates the ongoing support from both the cohort members and the staff. Michigan FPHLP was full of support for her academic and career interests. Another highlight was the time she finished an interview for a program after FPHLP and the staff members were there to see how she was feeling. Jillian’s cohort celebrated when she was notified about receiving the position and so did the staff. This support has extended past the program and makes Michigan FPHLP amazing.

Jillian’s greatest challenge was adjusting to the communal settings and living together as a cohort. In particular, navigating the group projects and group settings were new to her. She learned that patience and great listening skills were key for successful group projects and happy communal environments. Jillian will use these two skills when she becomes a graduate student to help coordinate successful research projects and training. As a future epidemiologist, Jillian believes that this skill will translate well when she needs to incorporate feedback.

After leaving Michigan FPHLP, Jillian will be finishing her senior year and completing her minor in microbiology. Additionally, she will be completing her drafts for graduate programs and focusing on a larger research project. She has plans to be wrapping up this project this winter and presenting on it during a few spring research symposiums.

In the future, Jillian hopes to be a future graduate student at a dual MPH program, focusing on epidemiology and health informatics. She plans on working as an epidemiologist and possibly obtaining her Ph.D. in epidemiology after working a few years.

Jillian believes others should apply to Michigan FPHLP to explore all the different aspects of public health. She was shocked by the different career paths and fields available in public health, and FPHLP greatly added to her knowledge about public health jobs. She believes that the support is irreplaceable from both the cohort and the staff. “This program has solidified my confidence in the field and driven me to apply to MPH programs.” says Jillian.