Graduating Senior Sarah Rightmire is pursing her Master in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy Analysis and Management at the University of Maryland next year. She shared with us a little bit about her Chapman experience and some advice for incoming freshman.
What experiences as a Chapman Undergrad were most valuable to you?
As a Spring 2020 transfer, my Chapman experience was slightly different from most, but I still made the most of it. Being online certainly had its challenges, but I made some of my best friends from Zoom breakout rooms! As a graduating senior and looking back at my undergraduate experience, I am truly grateful for the connections and opportunities that I had inside and outside of the classroom. Without such compassionate and amazing professors at Crean College, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Did you work closely with a faculty member? If so, who?
During my time at Chapman, I developed so many relationships with not only my peers but also my professors. Being a part of Crean College as well as being a psychology major, allowed me to work closely with Dr. John Hunter as a teaching assistant for one of his health psychology courses. Dr. Hunter served not only as a professor to me but also as a mentor. Whether it was talking about psychology, career options, graduate school, or just personal things, Dr. Hunter was always someone I could talk to.
Were you involved in research or clubs?
As a full-time student that also commuted, I would say I was pretty involved on and off campus. I dappled in a little bit of everything to try things and make connections. For most of my time at Chapman, I was part of a sorority, Spoonies, and AMSA. In my last semester at Chapman, I was able to take a graduate-level special education course, which gave me the opportunity to get involved in research with Dr. Jennifer Kong. Outside of school, I was also involved in running a support group for kids with rare diseases in Orange County.
What actions did you take as an undergrad to make you a strong applicant for grad school?
As an undergraduate, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to graduate school. During my undergraduate career, I was involved in organizations and groups because I wanted to have fun, not because I thought it would strengthen my resume. At the beginning of undergrad, I obtained a summer internship with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). During this internship, I was surrounded by competitive and like-minded individuals who opened my eyes to many things. This internship lit my passion for making a bigger change in the medical community. I started a support group for kids with rare diseases with almost 400 members. I started public speaking to medical and DPT students at local colleges and hospitals. I began making a self-funded medical documentary. And recently, I lobbied on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., for immune deficiencies. At the end of the day, being involved in research and clubs is great, but also remember that there is a bigger world out there, and your voice and actions matter. The best advice I could give someone wanting to go to graduate school is: Find what you are passionate about and stick with it! Also… GO TERPS!
What career are you interested in pursuing post grad school?
After graduate school, I plan on working in the public health sector with a health policy concentration. In the future, I would love to work for the National Institute of Health or a non-profit.
What advice would you give incoming freshman?
Advice that I would give to incoming freshmen is to put yourself out there because you never know what could come of it. Get involved, try new things, and step outside your comfort zone. College is the perfect time to meet new people and form life-long connections. And just remember that whether this time is good or bad – it’s temporary.
Congratulations Sarah! We are so proud of you and all our talented Crean College seniors!!