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Student Spotlights

​​​​​​​​​​​​Darielle Sherrod 

My name is Darielle Dominique Sherrod and I am currently a Master of Public Health (MPH) Candidate with a focus in Community Health Practice (CHP) within the Liberal Arts and Social Sciences department at DePaul University. I completed my undergraduate degree at Augustana College with a BA in Public Health, Sociology and Communication Studies. I have always enjoyed giving back and making a difference in underrepresented communities which is where my interest in Public Health immersed. 

I am one of the two Graduate Research Assistants for the MPH program. Over the course of the academic year, I will be conducting research and assisting MPH faculty on a range of projects. Additionally, I am also the Student Representative for the Public Health Student Organization at DePaul. I am also a member of the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA) and American Public Health Association (APHA).


Why Did You Choose DePaul?

I chose DePaul College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences over other institutions because of the welcoming environment, the professional and personal opportunities offered, and because of vicarious experiences of friends whom attended DePaul who had awesome experiences. Those factors motivated me to be a part of such a close-knit community and fine institution. Also, my undergraduate degree encompassed a liberal arts education. Therefore, I felt that it was necessary for me continue obtaining a liberal arts education for my masters and because of the strong values and mission that DePaul holds for the students, faculty and staff. When I chose DePaul, I knew that I would graduate as a well-rounded, well-qualified and equipped public health professional. DePaul rigorous curriculum is what I needed to be challenged within my field. Furthermore, as a person of color, I knew choosing DePaul would expose me to a diverse environment, inside and outside the classroom, to learn from others who may or may not share similar experiences and paths as me which is very important and meaningful for personal, academic and professional growth. DePaul has a legacy of well-prepared professionals as well.

What Do You Enjoy Most About the DePaul MPH Program?

What I value most about the MPH program is the passionate and driven faculty who make sure that  the students will be personally and professional prepared to serve our communities to the best of our abilities.  I enjoy the in-class discussions I have with my classmates and professors. I value and admire their experiences and knowledge as it has shed light on mine. I appreciate and value the opportunities, networking, applied experiences offered, mentoring, advising and the small cohort atmosphere. The MPH program goes above and beyond for their students and that gives me reassurance that I made the right choice. Furthermore, the MPH program has prepared me to evaluate how culture, equity, social determinants, and the relationship between socio-ecological factors contribute to individual, societal, and systematic habits on micro-macro levels. Lastly, the program’s mission aligns with my public health and professional interest for the future. ​

Why Did You Choose Your Concentration (CHP or Social Epi), and How Do You Think it Will Prepare You For a Career in Public Health?

I chose my concentration in Community Health Practice (CHP) because I consider myself a doer; therefore, my goals are parallel to the goals of the CHP concentration. I am also an extroverted person; therefore, I enjoy working up close and personal with my community. This concentration requires encompassing social justice, resilience, and empathetic collaboration, which is important for community involvement and practice. CHP will prepare me on how to collaborate with diverse communities, prioritize and investigate health concerns, and reinforce health equity in an urban environment.

The Community Health Practice track will prepare me for a career in public health because of the 22 competencies of public health that will be met by graduation and by providing me with a heightened understanding of social determinants of health, the innovative strategies, program design and evaluation, and the qualitative and quantitative research skills necessary to identify, address, and reduce health disparities in communities.

Preeya Waite

My name is Preeya Waite and I am in my second year of the MPH program at DePaul. I was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Xavier University. After graduation, I participated in a year of service program and later worked in a clinical research lab before deciding to pursue a career in public health. 

Outside of my studies, I currently work as a Graduate Assistant in the Center for Community Health Equity. I work on meaningful projects that cover an array of public health topics and have been able to connect with various public health leaders in the Chicago area.

Preeya Waite 
Why Did You Choose DePaul?
I chose DePaul mainly because of its commitment to social justice. Pursuing equity has long been a passion of mine, and the University's vision of preparing students for global citizenship really attracted me. I was able to also connect with a friend who received a master's degree from DePaul, and she shared nothing but great sentiments about her time here. One of my top priorities was to be in a learning environment that was not restricted to just the classroom but also utilized the greater community as a resource. I appreciate that DePaul encourages students to explore and learn from Chicago.
Wh​at Do You Enjoy Most About the DePaul MPH Program?​​​

I love how supportive the MPH faculty is of the students in the program. Prior to matriculating to DePaul, I had been out of school for a few years, and also had no formal public health education. The faculty does a great job of ensuring that we are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in the f​ield. I also really appreciate the cohort-based model of this program. The opportunity to learn from and hear the diverse perspectives of my classmates is something that I truly value.  

Why Did You Choose Your Concentration (CHP or Social Epi), and How Do You Think it Will Prepare You For a Career in Public Health?

When I completed my undergraduate studies, I was struggling to find an area of work that would incorporate my scientific interests with my devotion to equity. The Social Epidemiology concentration of the MPH program was the perfect fit for me. At the core of everything I do is a strong desire to dismantle the structures that perpetuate injustices in our society. I envision a world where one’s location, gender, and race do not dictate health outcomes. The Social Epidemiology concentration has provided me with the tools to work towards making this a reality.  ​