With the arrival of summer, many Masters of Public Health students travel to places around the city, around the state, around the nation, and around the world to complete a plethora of practicum and capstone opportunities. Emma St. Aubin is one such student, one who has landed far away from Fort Collins.

Emma, a rising second-year Masters of Public Health student in the Health Communications concentration, is completing her practicum with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Geneva, Switzerland. Emma’s work this summer will mostly focus on translating the framework created by convention committees onto the website. This position with the WHO is somewhat of a legacy position for the ColoradoSPH at CSU. Alumnus Andrzej Stadnik, a graduate from the epidemiology concentration in December 2014, held the position last summer. Andrzej was preceded by other students.

Emma’s background, although far removed from Geneva, prepared her remarkably well for this opportunity. Emma attended the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, majoring in Health Promotion and Wellness and minoring in Communications. In addition to being editor of her school newspaper, she led the communications campaign around making UWSP a tobacco-free campus. She wrote countless articles, referendums, and public announcements to help advance the issue, which was finally enacted in 2014. Emma is attracted to Health Communications work because of its malleability. “Health Communications is so broad – you can mold your health communications experience into any other aspect of public health,” she said in a recent interview. “You can communicate epidemiological data, healthy living campaigns, information about a certain disease. The applications are unlimited.”

The Assistant Director of the Colorado School of Public Health at Colorado State University, Kendra Bigsby, is joining Emma in Geneva this month to facilitate the development of organizational relationships with the World Health Organization. Kendra is meeting with 9 different departments/programmes within the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, for the purpose of maintaining and establishing internship opportunities for students in the Colorado School of Public Health across the campuses and degree program. Several CSU MPH students have had an opportunity to work with Dr Tibor Szilagyi in the Tobacco Convention Secretariat . “We hope to establish opportunities for students in additional areas of the WHO including HIV, infectious/zoonotic disease, infection prevention, health communication, and other topics,” noted Kendra. “WHO department/programme representatives have been very receptive and are interested in continuing toward the development of a more formal relationship.”

Stay posted for a story about Emma’s experience in Geneva – coming in August! And watch for other stories from our students about their Summer 2015 experiences.