Bethany Stapel, MPH 2014
Director of Administrative Services, DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department
What inspired you to pursue an MPH degree?
From a young age, I’ve always loved serving the needs of others! That passion, along with having an awesome mentor from years ago re-enter my life, helped me learn more and more about the wide variety of careers in public health. It really motivated me to continue into my MPH degree.
Why did you choose Illinois for your MPH?
Honestly, the biggest deciding factor was probably not being ready to leave the University of Illinois! I wasn’t ready to leave my friends, and I was serving as my sorority’s philanthropy chair. I didn’t want to miss out on all the things I’d become invested in, so I started working on my MPH degree instead of graduating early.
How did your Illinois MPH degree help prepare you to work in the field?
During my time in the MPH program, I attended the Rural Public Health Conference where I was able to network with public health professionals. At this conference, I learned about an opening for a health educator position from a person who would later be my boss. I applied, and it ended up being the perfect fit for me! Not only that, it was perfect timing because it allowed me to do my practicum and capstone work in the field, too. Even before this, many of my mentors gave me an incredible amount of trust, respect, and responsibility in the field that shaped me into an equipped young public health professional.
What advice do you have for current students?
Relationships are so important. Be kind and respectful to everyone you meet. I’ve had so many amazing opportunities because of the wonderful people around me! Take advantage of those hands-on experiences in the field because those are some of my favorite memories. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of my colleagues helping me along the way! These professional relationships have grown into incredible friendships too, so don’t underestimate networking.