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Public Health student profile: Veronica Brechtold

Public Health Major
Degree obtained at the UW: Bachelor of Arts Public Health, Minor in Anthropology
Previous school/s before UW: Seattle Central Community College
Job Title: Shelter Counselor for the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC)

Can you tell us a bit about your current position? Working directly with our clients at DESC has given me perspective and has allowed me to understand the direct impact that homelessness, substance abuse, mental illness, and trauma have on an individual and our community.

How did your undergraduate education prepare you for this work/experience? There were so many opportunities to learn outside of the classroom at UW. The best part was being able to bring those experiences back into the classroom to share with the group and learn from each other. I was especially fortunate to be in a program that allowed for small classrooms and a ton of interaction with professors and advisers, which really helped me succeed…

Please tell us about your career path so far. I thought that I had valuable internship/work experiences under my belt, but I struggled finding post-grad employment as first. I ended up getting my job at DESC mostly from my previous work experience at ROOTS Young Adult Shelter. The funny thing is I never planned to be there in the first place, but it resulted in a pretty great job in the end.

What one piece of advice would you give to prospective students considering public health as an educational or career path? Do it! Do your research on what it is and what your options are (there are a lot) after you graduate, and throw yourself into it with the intention of taking what you learn out into your community.