Temple University graduate students now have a way to position themselves for a career addressing both public health and public policy needs.

The Master in Public Policy and Master in Public Health dual degree program teaches graduate students how to manage government entities and nonprofit organizations while also showing them how to navigate political environments as a public health professional.

Sara Wright was the first student to enroll in the program, and she plans to complete it in 2023 after attending part-time. Below, Wright kindly offers some insights to help graduate students determine if the Master in Public Policy (MPP) and Master in Public Health (MPH) dual degree is the best program for meeting their goals.

What made you interested in pursuing the MPP/MPH dual degree program?

Sara Wright: I’ve always wanted to be an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. I think there’s a huge gap in equity and accessibility, and I want to help mend those differences. 

As an undergrad, I studied Political Science and Global Studies. I also took a Public Policy class that stuck out and really resonated with me. The class discussed policy and health care, which seemed like one of the most effective ways to benefit the general population. I found Temple’s dual program and felt it was tailored to all of my needs and interests. Currently, I work with credentialing foreign health care professionals, and the dual degree program of MPH and MPP was the best-fitting puzzle piece to forward my career. I think it’ll ultimately help me affect the greatest scale of people and make a difference.

How has the dual degree program helped you with your career goals?

Wright: It helped me gain two internships, one with Philadelphia Councilman Isaiah Thomas and one at the Nationalities Service Center doing research and advancement. The program also helped me gain the professional development, knowledge and confidence I needed to support my career growth post-graduation.

What has your favorite policy course been so far and why?

Wright: The Program Planning: from Theory to Practice course and Leadership in Public Policy have been my favorites thus far. Both have really challenged me in different ways. Leadership in Public Policy has pushed me to be more vocal and show me how to be a working member in a leadership role. It’s helped me realize my strengths and weaknesses and how to improve upon them. Program Planning has taught me all of the steps and processes to make something happen, and I can’t wait to put what I’ve learned to use one day soon. 

What advice do you have for incoming students?

Wright: Trust yourself. I think we often get intimidated by others in the room. Just know you belong here, and imposter syndrome is only real if you make it real. Know what you’re capable of, know your strengths, know your weaknesses, too, and use them to your advantage. You will make it out OK.

Lastly, be prepared. When you come into class knowing what you’re talking about or even come in with thoughtful questions, it helps expand upon your knowledge in class and helps you build relationships with your professors and colleagues. What you say may inspire someone else or you may even get a little gem of information from the professor.

For more information about the Master of Public Policy and Master of Public Health dual degree program, please contact Master of Public Policy Assistant Director Samantha Agpar at samantha.apgar@temple.edu.

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