Lifelong Learning

Point of View | February 28th, 2018

Graduate school challenges you intellectually, emotionally, and even physically. As the last few months of my degree drew to a close, I found myself counting down the days until I finally received my shiny new MPH degree. I felt as though I had grown so much as a person and was confident in the education I had received from BUSPH.

Soon, the reality of the real world began to set in. As I entered my career search I was humbled by the amount that I still needed to experience and learn. Fortunately, at SPH, I am provided with a breadth of resources that allow me to stay involved. In the public health field especially, engaging in lifelong learning is essential. To me, lifelong learning is the notion that learning and development doesn’t stop once you leave the classroom. This field is changing every day and having the ability to stay up-to-date with information and knowledge is essential to continuing to shape and improve the health of populations.

While I was excited to branch away from school and the crazy schedule and work that came along with it, I quickly realized how much I missed being immersed in education and the SPH community as I once was. During my time at BU, I was fortunate to have the experience to work with Population Health Exchange (PHX). PHX is part of the Office of Lifelong Learning and provides opportunities to grow and develop skills, while providing the opportunity to stay current with emerging population health trends. PHX has a variety of ways to stay engaged, including online courses and frequent webinars. I was recently able to utilize a webinar that was featured on their website to help me effectively communicate some of my research data to an audience of stakeholders. PHX also has a podcast called Free Associations, which features three SPH professors who critique recent studies in a funny and entertaining way. I began listening to the podcast as a student to help with my epidemiology skills and now as an alumna of the school, I still listen to stay current with issues (while also getting in a few laughs).

The biggest benefit of PHX as I continue to grow as a professional is the Summer and Winter Institutes. With courses taught by respected faculty or fellow alumni, these institutes have short, immersive programs that allow me to gain career-enhancing insight and skills, all while networking with other professionals in public health and related fields. There is still more that I would like to learn as I begin and progress in my public health career and the PHX Institutes offer me that opportunity to expand my education.

In addition to the lifelong learning resources from PHX, the frequent Dean Symposiums and Seminars are something I valued as a student and do even more now that I have graduated. Whenever I have interest in a current public health topic in the news, there always seems to be a corresponding seminar featuring the top experts in their respective fields discussing that topic. Recently, I was able to attend the seminar on the opioid epidemic and substance use that featured the Surgeon General of the United States, which truly felt like a once in a lifetime experience. I am so grateful that I attended a school that can provide such opportunities as a student and an alumni and that I can continue to learn about other perspectives and opinions on relevant topics and issues.

As much as I enjoy listening to the speakers at the seminars and symposiums, I also value the opportunity to connect and reconnect with people at the school. These events provide the opportunity to catch up with old classmates, professors, health professionals from across the state, as well as engage with current students to hear fresh takes on topics and to make further connections that have the potential to benefit both parties. I even get to continue networking at events set up through the Career Services Office that teach me how to market myself, whether it be at an alumni reception or a professional development workshop.

Though my experience as an alumna of the School of Public Health has been short thus far, I feel confident that as I grow in my career, I have the resources available to me to gain and strengthen skills that will allow me to advance in the field. I am excited to continue to grow and learn what life after SPH has in store for me.


Allyson Coniglione (SPH’18) is a recent MPH degree program graduate.