Name: Keily N. Hayes
Program: Master of Public Health, Community Health Education
Graduation Date: May 2022
Why did you choose this field of study? Why did you choose the program at MSU?
Working as a sign language interpreter for the last 17 years has given me the opportunity to interact with diverse populations in a variety of settings, across the lifespan, and across demographics. I have been a firsthand witness to inequities and disparities throughout these experiences but have lacked the role and tools to address them. Three years ago I decided to return to school and pursue a Master of Public Health degree. The MPH program at MSU stood out from the other programs I considered because of its focus on and commitment to advancing health equity and advocating for social justice.
What are the best parts of your program?
The people. I have learned the most from listening to the experiences and insights of my classmates and professors. Each of my classmates and professors brings unique experiences, backgrounds, and passions into the classroom (or zoomroom!) and we gain so much more because of this. A more diverse workforce is needed in the field of public health and the MPH program at MSU is part of the solution. There is a strong “common ground” in this program as we have a collective aim to address inequities and reduce health disparities. From water pollution and smoking cessation to sex education and diabetes prevention, we discuss it all. Our discussions are lively and our learning is intense.
What advice would you give to a prospective student in your field?
Public health is about passion. Whatever you are passionate about, there is a place for you in this field to make a difference. Bring it!
How is your program preparing you for working in your field?
This program is giving me the tools I need to make a difference, to do more for those who need more. We learn from history, from mistakes and tragedies, from prejudice and racism, from the literature and from the experiences of others. We are shown resources and tools, guided as we learn to use them, and are given opportunities to implement what we have learned. The network of students and faculty is strong and there are many opportunities for interdisciplinary connections and collaborations.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your program, the College of Education & Human Services, or Montclair State University that we haven’t asked about?
The faculty and staff of the Department of Public Health here at MSU is as compassionate as they are passionate. They understand the challenges graduate students can face as adult learners, parents, caretakers, full-time workers. They have been incredibly supportive to us all throughout the challenges of this pandemic.