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MPH Student Q&A: Hailey Merrick

Hailey Merrick, MPH Student

In celebration of this year’s 2024 SPPH graduating class, we caught up with several graduating students to learn about their time with the School of Public and Population Health.

Hailey Merrick is a Master of Public Health in Prevention and Intervention student. She will graduate this May.

Read on to learn about her path to public health, her appreciation for community and her advice for potential graduate students!


What brought you to Boise State and the School of Public and Population Health?

I was born and raised in Boise and grew up attending sporting events and functions on campus. I took a Microbiology class in the Spring of 2019 from Dr. Emily Meredith. Throughout the course, Dr. Meredith constantly talked about public health and epidemiology. After researching public health and learning more about the career opportunities that were available through this degree, I confidently changed my major and haven’t looked back. I love public health and all the incredible people working to decrease the impacts of social determinants of health and increase overall well-being of the community.


What have you enjoyed most about your MPH experience?

I have really enjoyed getting my Master’s in Public Health. Through the conversations in the classroom, the activities outside the classroom, and the amazing relationships I’ve built I am confident that the graduating class of 2024 will make a positive impact on the communities we serve.

I’ve loved the insightful and profound conversations I had in and out of the classroom. I am incredibly grateful for the faculty and staff at SPPH for continually fostering my love of learning and Public Health.


How has the MPH experience changed or shaped the way you view public health and think about your role in your community?

Preventing disease and/or negative out-comes is a primary responsibility of Public Health Practitioners. We work collaboratively with diverse communities and organizations to identify how the social determinants of health affect a priority population, devise a solution to decrease the effects and implement a program with the hopes of positively impacting the greater community.

One of the biggest takeaways I have is that this is not a single persons job, but a community of individuals working together to enhance the community. Having multiple perspectives at the table provides a diverse range of expertise and insights to developing a well rounded solution and increase the likelihood of the community accepting the support.


What advice do you have for undergrad students contemplating a graduate degree?

Public health is a broad field. Take some time to research the various specializations that are associated with public health. I was shocked to learn how many different pathways a public health degree can take you, as well as how many different components of life are influenced by public health. This program is designed to get you thinking outside of the box and identify new ways to support the priority population you choose to work with.


What are you looking forward to after graduating?

I have accepted a position with the Center on Disability and Human Development at the University of Idaho. In this role, I will be part of a team who is implementing a new program called Idaho Competitive Integrative Employment (ICIE). This program supports individuals with disabilities age 10-21 with skills to market themselves when seeking and maintaining employment. I will be the primary evaluator of the program, as well as developing communication and marketing material for the program.