Maryann Walsh, M.S. Community Health ‘12
Assistant Director, Health and Wellness Center, Hofstra University
What led you to be interested in the field of Community Health?
I have been working in the medical field since I was 19 years old. I started out working for Pfizer in NYC working for a product manager. My fascination with medicine began there. I went on to marriage and a family and was a stay at home mom for a while. After two children and a divorce, I decided to go to college and obtain a bachelor’s degree but had to do that while I was working, because I was supporting my daughters. I started Queens College in 1980, going to school two nights per week. It took me 12 years to graduate from SUNY of Old Westbury with a degree in American Studies with a minor in political science.
Tell us about the work you do as Asst. Director in the Health and Wellness Center here at Hofstra.
I love the population I work with because you interact with students from all over the world and watch them grow into competent professionals when they graduate. It is very exciting for me to watch their transformation. I also train student workers to prepare them for the workplace. I work with international students helping them to navigate our complicated healthcare system. The courses I took in the Community Health Program have made me knowledgeable in all areas of healthcare and I am able to use my skills to assist our students with their healthcare administrative issues.
What initially drew you to working with college students?
There was an ad in the Sunday Times, which asked for an office manager in the Health Office at a Long Island university. Prior to this I worked with Alzheimer patients, homebound patients, in a hospital setting, in a radiological office, a gynecologist office and in a nursing home. I did not have any experience with college students and I felt it would be a good learning experience for me. Fourteen years later I am still here. The Community Health Program has given me the skills I needed to become the healthcare professional I always wanted to be.
Describe your experience in classes and your relationships with faculty.
I loved the courses in the Community Health M.S. and found the faculty outstanding professionals in their fields and always available for guidance and I particularly connected with Martine Hackett, Estelle Weinstein, Corinne Kyriacou, Marjorie Bass, and Marianne Sullivan. I am stunned by their dedication to their students and their professional accomplishments and achievements.
What is your advice for students interest in pursing a degree in health?
My advice to prospective students looking for a degree in health related fields would be to follow your dreams and find an area that is particularly interesting and learn everything you can about it. In addition, make yourself marketable. Every graduate needs to have the skills to become employed. The best advice I can give is to never stop learning.