Adriane Phi graduated from the UW with a degree in Public Health-Global Health. Here is her student profile from 2021.
What interested you in studying public health and why are you passionate about it?
Growing up in a community where health education and access to resources were scarce, I learned that health wasn’t only dependent on the individual, but also the community and government leaders. I pursued public health to address these social determinants of health to help members of my community advocate for themselves and prevent future health disparities. I’m passionate about making one-on-one connections with community members and gaining tools to help lift their voices.
What’s your favorite aspect about studying public health and why?
Applying everything I learned in the classroom to real world events was an important aspect that I couldn’t find in any other program. All of my SPH professors have acknowledged the great and not so great things happening in our world and provide the space to have safe discussions. They also have given me tangible tools, such as being an advocate for communities and highlighting their needs and voices to help make the world a better place for years to come.
How do you want to change the world with your degree?
Communities all over the world struggle with health inequities that require action taken today. By studying public health, I’m able to apply an inter-disciplinary approach to advocate and support various communities. As for changing the world, I wish I could pick just one way, but that’s the beauty of this program — I don’t have to! Simply put, I want to use my degree to make our communities safer and healthier so no one needs to worry about having a warm meal, access to basic healthcare and education, or the impact of our climate on their health because it’s addressed on a legislative level.
What experiences at the UW SPH have been most influential?
Working in the Dean’s Office with Monet LaForge has been one of my most valued experiences. Under her mentorship, I’ve grown with various projects like assisting in the revision of our Distinguished Alumni Award (now Alumni Impact Award) to increase equity, highlighting our astonishing 50 Changemakers, and even encouraging me to lead our Dawg Dash event.
She’s provided me with opportunities to improve my administrative skills in a professional manner all while aligning them with my goals of ensuring health equity for our communities. She’s leveraged my experiences as a student to help other students navigate this terrain to ensure the voices of students are represented in the Office of the Dean. I’m so grateful for the support system that I’ve gained within the UW SPH community. They always encourage me to seize learning opportunities and offer a tremendous amount of support. This is something that I will continue to take with me beyond my undergraduate career and I know that I can always count on them to be my #1 cheerleaders.
Why did you choose the UW?
I wanted to go to a university that challenged me academically and valued diversity. As a freshman, I didn’t know what field I wanted to go into, so the large number of great programs at the UW was the perfect place to explore subjects that interested me.
Tell us about your extracurricular activities. What interests do you have outside of (or related to) public health?
Related to public health, I interned for The Borgen Project as a regional director where we worked to make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy. This role taught me that I can truly make an impact through legislation and mobilize others to do so too. Lobbying Congress members to support poverty reduction legislation for those all around the world initially made me nervous because this seemed far beyond the scope of my abilities. However, The Borgen Project helped me see how easy it was to make a HUGE impact by simply calling and emailing my representatives.
Outside of public health, I love going to music festivals and connecting with people at those events. It’s incredible to be a part of a community where peace, love, unity and respect are so ingrained in our culture and we’re able to share a love for music. One day I hope to bring the work I do with my local community — particularly with those experiencing homelessness — to the music scene to dismantle the stigma surrounding drug addiction. I want to help all community members who are experiencing any form of addiction through effective harm reduction approaches. As a lifelong goal, I want to build my own nonprofit organization that connects my community members to resources such as education, safe injection sites and testing centers to fight the spread of infectious diseases.
What is one piece of advice that you have for potential new public health students or one thing you wish you knew before beginning your public health studies?
As a senior now, I wish I would have made more of an effort to learn more about my professors’ experiences in the field. To the potential new students: don’t feel pressure to have it all figured out or even feel like you need to narrow your public health focus to just one field. Our world needs so much help and this program can be applied in a variety of ways. Be present in your coursework and don’t be afraid to listen to your intuition — pursue what interests you!