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Convocation 2018: Meet Some of the Graduates

The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health Convocation is Saturday, May 12 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. in Tucson.

A reception for graduates, family and friends will follow at the Women’s Plaza Walkway.

The ceremony will be broadcast live by the Western Region Public Health Training Center and will be archived on the center’s YouTube channel,

Meet Dametreea Carr and Cristina Curran:

Tucsonan Finds Epidemiology is Her Passion 

Dametreea Carr

Dametreea Carr

Dametreea Carr, 29, is a Tucson native and Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellow who spent two years in Rwanda as a Peace Corps volunteer before pursuing a master’s degree at the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. One of two students to receive a master of public health (MPH) with a concentration in the new One Health program, after graduation she will begin work as an infectious disease epidemiologist with the Pinal County Public Health Department in Florence.

Carr was elected to the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health. She has a bachelor’s in biochemistry from the UA College of Science.

Carr discovered her interest in epidemiology through a combination of experiences while a student, including the class, “Student Aid for Field Epidemiology Response (SAFER),” and an internship in the Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control at the Arizona Department of Health Services in Phoenix. Volunteering helped seal the deal.

The SAFER class trains graduate students to work with state and county public health practitioners on outbreak investigations such as foodborne illnesses and infectious diseases. 

“After taking the SAFER class I continued as a volunteer with the program. Doing the work, investigating outbreaks and being the boots on the ground made me realize that I want to do this for the rest of my life,” said Carr. “After my internship, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.”

Carr said it was her mentor Kristen Pogreba-Brown, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology and director of the SAFER program, who encouraged her to apply for the position with the Pinal County Public Health Department.

“I had a really good experience at the College of Public Health. I participated and volunteered for so many different projects.”

Like the time Carr spent a summer as a volunteer for the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Awareness campaign on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Pinetop, Ariz. 

“It’s a life-threatening, tick-borne disease. We went door to door educating residents and checking their pets for ticks.” 

Carr’s advice for other job hunters: “Volunteer for as many projects as you can. If someone was doing research, I would volunteer to help. My experience helped me build my resume and CV. It makes you more impressive as a candidate to potential employers.”

Public Health Student Heads to Malawi with the Peace Corps 

Cristina Curran

Cristina Curran

Cristina Curran will graduate with a bachelor of science in public health. She will continue her commitment to global service and begins a two-year term in the Peace Corps this June as a health extension volunteer in Malawi, helping local health leaders train the public on the prevention of infectious diseases.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can grow professionally,” said Curran. “I know when I studied abroad I became more self-confident. I became more resilient. I think the Peace Corps will only make me stronger.”

Like graduate student Dametreea Carr, Curran may take advantage of the Coverdell Peace Corps Fellows Program once she returns to Arizona to pursue a master of public health degree in epidemiology.

Curran had never left the United States until her junior year at the University of Arizona. During the summer of 2016, she packed her bags and moved to Botswana for a study abroad experience that would ultimately define her professional path.

Originally from Phoenix, she chose the UA because of its strong reputation in the health sciences but wasn’t sure which field to pursue. During her freshman year, she discovered an interest in infectious diseases and working with underserved and at-risk populations. Studying abroad was a way to determine if a career in global health was a good fit.

She completed three internships over the past three years – analyzing sexually transmitted disease data for the Pima County Health Department, donating medical supplies to developing nations at Project C.U.R.E. in Tempe and assisting women experiencing homelessness at the Sister Jose Women’s Center in Tucson.

Read more about Curran’s study abroad experience in Botswana here

Dametreea Carr and Cristina Curran share a connection to the Peace Corps. The Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health is proud to be home to 20 percent of the University of Arizona’s Peace Corps Fellows.

The MPH in One Health is an interdisciplinary concentration within the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. The One Health program recognizes that multi-disciplinary efforts are needed at the intersection between humans, animals and the environment to solve complex diseases and public health concerns. Students are trained in the theory and application of utilizing One Health approaches to address complex public health challenges. 

The University of Arizona