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Ann Schurmann

Public Health

Posted in: Spotlights

Photo of Ann Schurmann

Department Administrator, Public Health

Please list the degrees you have earned and the institutions attended.

BS in Journalism with minor in English, Boston University
MPH with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health, Columbia University

What was your college experience like?

I had a lot to balance when I was an undergraduate: I was all about academics and cared a lot about doing well in my classes.  I worked 20-25 hours per week every semester and also during summer and winter breaks in order to earn the money I needed to cover my expenses.  I also had many other interests and participated in as many extracurricular activities as I could manage (for example, I sang in an a capella group called “The Off-Key Three” that performed in clubs and coffeehouses all over Boston).  I was a very, very busy person when I was in college!

Did you go to college with the intention of being a college administrator? If not, how did your path bring you here?

If you had told me when I was in college that one day I would work on a college campus, I would not have believed it!  That’s why I always tell my MSU advisees not to look too far down the career path, but to just take the next step!  When I was in college, I thought I wanted to be a writer and started my career working for newspapers and magazines.  Without really planning to, I wound up writing a lot about issues related to health.  Eventually, because of all the writing about health, I decided to shift my career focus and go back to school to get my MPH.  I loved that public health focused on prevention and on social justice.  After graduate school, I worked for a number of years administering public health programs that focused on child and adolescent health.  Eventually, I started teaching as an adjunct professor at Montclair State.  One day, a job opened up on campus and I thought I could do a good job in the role as it was described so I applied — and became the Department Administrator for the Department of Public Health.  I’ve been here for almost 14 years.  I love my job!

What is one thing you wish you had known in your undergraduate/graduate career? Why?

Hmmm.  I think I wish I had known how much guidance was available to me from my professors and advisors.  I did not take advantage of the wealth of wisdom they could have offered me if only I had realized how much they wanted to help and that all I had to do was reach out.  I am happy with the way things turned out in my career, but I think I missed some opportunities and might have made some different choices earlier if I had sought the advice of people who knew a lot more than I did.

What is the best part about being an MSU staff faculty member?

Working with the students!  So many MSU students are strivers who are working so hard – at classes, at jobs, at extracurriculars — to earn their degree (kind of like I did).  I love helping them to get where they want to go!

What does a typical day look like for you?

There is no typical day for me.  That’s why I like my job.  Some days there are lots of meetings with other staff members or faculty members.  Some days I meet with students one-on-one.  Some days I work at my computer.  Some days, I interview potential employees.  Some days, I participate in big events like University open houses.

What are a few of your recent accomplishments?

I helped establish some new programs in our department that allow outstanding Public Health majors to start taking graduate-level courses in the final year of their undergraduate program – so they can earn both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in five years.

What is your favorite class to teach at MSU? Why?

I haven’t taught that many classes.  I guess I will say that I most enjoyed teaching HLTH290 (Human Sexuality), but I taught that course 20 years ago!  Now I support other faculty members who teach that course – and many others.

What advice would you give to incoming students in order for them to succeed?

This is not high school.  This is YOUR education and you are responsible for it.  No one cares if you blow it, so YOU have to care.  Go to class.  Turn your assignments in on time.  Print your papers out and PROOFREAD them.  And, more than anything, keep your eyes on the prize – you are here to earn a degree.  Don’t forget that that should be your primary focus.  If you stumble a little and fail a class or choose the wrong major, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on going.  You have to have a lot of stamina and determination to earn a Bachelor’s degree.  And, until you get there, you have no idea how fantastic it feels to throw your cap in the air at Commencement when you celebrate your hard-won achievement.  It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!