Maura Sheehan

Maura Sheehan, MPH Class of '19


University of Pennsylvania, Master of Public Health Program, 2019—expected

Albright College, Bachelors of Science in Biology and Theatre, 2017

Favorite thing about Philly: The restaurants 


During high school, Maura took a public health policy course, which is what ultimately sparked her interest in population health. After graduating from Albright College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Theatre, she was not quite sure whether she wanted to pursue an MD or PhD. She decided it was best to take the time to get her MPH while working in a lab and see how she liked it.

Maura applied to a couple MPH programs in Philadelphia, but Penn stood out not only because of the tradition behind it, but also because of the intimate application process. 

“The interview was really helpful. Not all schools interviewed me,” Maura, who is a part-time student on the generalist MPH track, said. “Being able to come and meet the staff and having that personal experience definitely put Penn a step ahead in my mind.”

Also, the generous tuition benefits Penn offers were “certainly helpful.”

Maura receives those benefits because she is a Research Specialist at Penn Vet in the Biomedical Science department, where she studies human diseases. Although her position is somewhat unrelated to public health because it is more basic science research, the statistical skills she’s learned in biostatistics—a required course in the MPH Program—have translated into her work at Penn Vet. 

But the most rewarding aspect of the program has been her fieldwork, which is a 125-hour requirement designed for students to gain real-world public health experience. 

During the fieldwork experience, “getting to apply the skills that we learned in a very pragmatic way was important for me to actually see the impact of the degree that we’re getting and the things that we’re learning,” Maura said.

For her fieldwork, she worked with Menergy, a domestic abuse treatment center in Philadelphia. She helped implement an ongoing evaluation system for a program that helps perpetrators of intimate partner violence. Another benefit was the chance to work alongside a Penn MPH alumna who was consulting for Menergy. 

When Maura is not busy taking classes or working, she enjoys taking voice lessons. Upon graduation from the MPH Program, she plans to spend a year working in clinical research and then enroll in medical school.


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