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Student Accepted to Month-Long Summer Program at Harvard

Sarah Uhlenbrock ’15 is at a crossroads in choosing a career path so she’s looking for a summer program at Harvard University’s preeminent School of Public Health to help point her in the right direction.

The allied health major will attend introductory courses in epidemiology and biostatics and also participate in a small research project with a Harvard graduate student and public-health professor. She hopes the one-month program, which begins June 16, will help her decide between a career in epidemiology – the study of the incidence, distribution and control of disease -- and physician assisting.

“I like both for totally different reasons and can see myself doing either,” Uhlenbrock says. “Epidemiology is great because the work they do affects so many people. But I also love the feeling I get when I walk into an operating room where I am shadowing a physician. I know I want to be involved in the medical field and help people. I just don’t know what the job is going to be that will help me achieve that.”

The Cincinnati resident will study at Harvard’s century-old School of Public Health where faculty members—frequently working in collaboration with others at Harvard and around the world—have made landmark contributions revolutionizing public health. Among the achievements were determining the HIV virus could be transmitted by blood and blood products given through transfusions; inventing the direct-current cardiac defibrillator that has saved thousands of people suffering from erratic heart rhythms or cardiac arrest; demonstrating not all fats are “bad fats;” and launching the “Designated Driver” campaign to curb alcohol-related traffic crashes and deaths.

Uhlenbrock says her Otterbein professors have been instrumental in helping her land a spot in the Harvard program and being prepared to take on the challenges it will present. That includes writing letters of recommendation for admission to the program and guiding her through the rigors of an Otterbein education. She also says the university’s Center for Career & Professional Development provided her with great tips on her resume and cover letter for the Harvard application.

“So many professors have pushed me to do better and better,” she says. “Not one has let me down. I would have never been accepted to the Harvard program if our professors didn’t assure me that it was anything less than possible.”