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A Look Into The Life of a Boston University Graduate Student

When you’re in undergraduate school, the stress and constant ‘go,go’ of it makes you forget that there’s more we should be preparing for. Thus, remembering that further higher education is necessary for some of us can be quite daunting, and we’re left worried that we’ve done everything for the present but not enough for the future. My sister Keryden is currently a freshman at the Boston University School of Public Health and I’ve witnessed her adjustment from undergrad to grad firsthand— and it’s been eye-opening to the difference between these two forms of higher education. Therefore, I turned to her in hopes that she can offer some advice for any anxious undergraduates like myself and help us on the journey towards our career.

Q. Thank you for joining me today, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

A. Of course! Hello my name is Keryden Koeut-Futch and I’m a freshman at BU School of Public Health (BUSPH). My major is Epidemiology and my concentration is Maternal and Child Health. I’m hoping to use these two degrees to become a Maternal and Child Health epidemiologist with a specialisation in Pediatric epidemiology. 

Q. What made you decide on Boston University SPH as your graduate school?

A. Well, the faculty, and the research they were conducting was very comprehensive and innovative making me extremely interested in working with those professors. Additionally, BU is one the leading pioneers in the field of Public Health and their Maternal and Child Health Center for Excellence is one of the best in the nation, further cementing my belief that Boston University is where I need to be. 

Q. Can you give us a summary of what you did as an undergrad to prepare you for grad school?

A. I definitely did a lot, but I would say I got more involved with the faculty than the clubs. The professor and research that helped me gain all these opportunities was my “Sex, Health, and Decision Making” professor. I would go into her office hours and extensively talk about her research I was interested in, which prompted her to see how much I wanted to learn in Maternal and Child Health. She facilitated a meeting between me and her mentor that then led to me being offered a position as a research assistant for her. On top of that, I would get my resume looked over a lot as I piled on more jobs such as working as a student mentor for students with autism and teaching assistant for preschool kids. This help me received the constructive criticism I needed to finalise my resume for future research positions in studies focusing on the COVID-19 impact on maternal and child health outcomes in Florida and the effects of pornography viewing of high school students.

Q. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, public health and epidemiology have been up and coming fields of importance, what do you hope to achieve in your career given the acceleration of their prominence? 

A. I hope to reverse the stigma surrounding vaccinations first and foremost. Additionally, in the case of COVID-19, I want to help educate pregnant women on how to have safe and healthy pregnancies during COVID-19. Outside the scope of COVID-19, I aim to alleviate health disparities between different races, genders and socioeconomic statuses. I also want to apply this to a global sense and work in other countries to produce the same outcomes, yet I know the importance of starting at home first.

Q. Do you have any advice for students planning on applying for graduate school but don’t know where to start? 

A. I cannot stress enough how important it is to talk to as many people and ask as many questions as you can! Finding a professor or someone within your school that can look at your personal statement, resume and school choices is also really helpful when you need a professional opinion. I know this goes without saying, but researching in depth about the schools that you want to apply to is extremely helpful when you need to write your personal statement and also to help you gain a better understanding of how this school will benefit you in the long run.

Q. do you have any advice for students going into grad school that you wish you were told?

A. Time management is very important and I had a rude awakening in my first semester of grad school with that. I also think that it’s very easy to become overwhelmed with all the work, so it’s very important to take care of yourself during the school year because it will reflect in your performance all around. Lastly, I’ve learned to not be afraid to talk to professors because they want to talk to you! So don’t be scared to go into office hours to ask a question about an assignment or the lecture— they’re happy to help you and it will reflect well on you as a student.

After this insightful interview, I thanked my sister for her help in providing undergraduate students a look into the life of a graduate student. I hope the advice of a BU grad student helps guide you in your future BU careers on what to do next and how!

Of course, if you don’t want to go to graduate school that’s not a problem at all, but if you do, take the advice of Keryden Koeut-Futch and start making those connections with professors.

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All the way from St. Petersburg, Florida, Isabella is currently a sophomore at Boston University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Public Policy Analysis. Her hobbies include coffee dates, traveling, concerts, and fashion, and you can usually find her running late to class with a Starbucks drink in her hand!
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