Alumni Blog: Karen Poh

By: Athena Metaxas

Featured Alumnus: Karen Poh

Year Graduated: Spring 2012

Current Academic Status: Pursuing a Master’s in Public Health (Environmental and Occupational Health Services) at University of North Texas Health Science Center

1. What made you decide to pursue a Master’s degree in public health?

I received my degree in public health from UT and I honestly enjoyed the subject. One of the most important things I learned from my public health classes at UT was that public health can make a huge difference on the population. I wanted to be part of that cause and one day make a difference for those in need.

2. Do you think the undergraduate education you received at UT prepared you well for grad school?

Of course! The public health degree at UT introduced me to the foundational classes that I’m taking right now in graduate school. Even though the class itself is more challenging in graduate school, the material is still the same. I’m currently taking all of the public health classes I took in the past year and a half. The professors I took the classes with at UT were fantastic and they made the material easy to understand the first, making my transition from undergraduate to graduate school pretty smooth. Also, I don’t feel so behind or lost in my current classes, which is always a nice feeling!

3. What’s your most favorite aspect about being a grad student at UNT?

At UNTHSC, I currently have classes 3 days a week and it’s AWESOME since that means I have a 4-day weekend. I can spend those days studying, running errands, or even relaxing. There’s a LOT of material to read and catch-up on for each class, but my 4-day weekend is still pretty sweet. My class schedule will not look like this every semester, but I’m going to enjoy all of it while I can. In addition, UNTHSC offers online classes for distance learners and I get to stay at home and study if I wanted to! Actually, I met someone in my online class who is taking the class all the way from Nigeria! UNTHSC is also known for its diverse campus so there are quite a few international students; I love learning about people’s different cultures and what life was like in their countries.

4. What’s some advice that you would give to undergrads who are thinking about going to grad school?

Make sure you truly love the field you are studying in graduate school. From the older students (both MPH and general graduate students at UNTHSC), I heard that if you like what you are studying, you’ll learn to dislike it. If you dislike that subject already, you’ll hate your field and never finish your degree. While this might not be true for all people, I think it’s still very important to love what you are doing. Otherwise, why spend thousands of dollars to study something you aren’t interested in?

5. Which came first: the chicken or the egg?

Pandas. Just kidding. I think the egg came first. The species before the chicken laid the egg and the chicken-to-be in the egg probably had some whacky mutations and became the chicken. But who knows? It’s fair game at this point!

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