In Focus: Laura Schlosser-Raifaizen
Tell us about your path to Hofstra University.
I began at NCC in the fall of 2008, taking courses on the pre-med track. There, I met with a Hofstra representative who encouraged me to take two years of applicable coursework, rather than a degree granting associates program. I looked up the undergraduate health programs on Hofstra’s website, and found there were several that would help me move towards my original interest in attending medical school. I had worked hard for my 3.95 GPA at Nassau, and knew there would be a lot of opportunities for me when I finished my first two years. Hofstra offered me a generous scholarship, and when combined with the close distance to home and high-quality academics, it was an easy choice to make.
How did you decide to major in Community Health?
I had taken a class in Women’s Reproductive Health with Dr. Julie Askew, which really opened my eyes to the field of Community Health. It’s such a great area to study for those interested in medicine and many other professions in health services. I met with a representative in University Advisement who encouraged me to meet with Dr. Israel Schwartz, director of both the B.S. in Community Health and the B.S. in Health Science. He was wonderful: so passionate about this field and so helpful. We talked for two hours about my goals and interests, which made me sure the major in Community Health was right for me and that I would have all the support I needed to succeed.
What opportunities have you taken advantage of at Hofstra?
Dr. Schwartz suggested a number of student organizations that I would be interested in. I belong to all three major health clubs; I am a member of the honor society Eta Sigma Gamma, I was the Vice President of the Health and Wellness club, and next year I am excited to be the President of Hofstra Rotaract. These groups work in tandem to provide students opportunities to do community service, attend lectures and work with leaders in the field while networking for career advances in the future.
Have you found mentors among any of the faculty here?
There are so many. In addition to Dr. Schwartz, I have really enjoyed having Dr. Corinne Kyriacou as a professor. I’ve taken three courses with her so far, and she is so easy to talk to. In History of Contemporary Healthcare, we were instructed to write letters to congress with our opinions on “Obamacare”. Projects like these have helped me to think more analytically and outside of the box. Dr. Kyriacou made us recognize the important to understanding multiple perspectives and substantiating our positions on hot topics like these in health care.
Dr. Aleta Labiento has also been a fantastic mentor. She taught me my first semester here at Hofstra and acts as my club advisor. Dr. Labiento is so enthusiastic about helping others and has instilled in me a sense of charity. I signed up for the one credit community service course and since then have done so many great things. We participated in Gift of Life to raise money for open-heart surgery for those in other countries. We also worked with a clinic here in Hempstead that supplies free care to those without health insurance, by donating over-the-counter medications. These experiences have been so fulfilling and make me want to do more for others.
Another mentor I’ve looked to is Dr. Marlena Hamann. Her experience working for the Center for Disease Control always added to our discussions. She had so many interesting stories, and is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
How has your experience prepared you for your future job search?
The Community Health program incorporates an internship into the curriculum, so that will add to my previous experience in medical records as a consultant. I’ve also learned so much about health policies, the need for business ethics, and other standards that are imperative for professionals in the field. I am very motivated to explore graduate programs like Hofstra’s Master of Public Health and Master of Health Administration and feel confident I will be well prepared when applying.
What advice would you give to others looking to transfer from community college to Hofstra?
The most important piece of advice that I could give is to be proactive; double check your future college’s plans of study to be sure you are taking courses that will help you to a timely graduation. Nassau Community College and many four-year colleges like Hofstra put on transfer days, where you can talk about the transition and important things to know that will save you time and money. Meet with program directors like Dr. Schwartz ahead of time! Since being here, I have truly enjoyed the sense of community campus-wide and within the health department. The setting here is so pretty and I have been so thankful for our faculty; they truly make the program!