Public health is a broad field that has many different sectors. For Southern Illinois University Edwardsville alumnus, Edgar Huichapa, he enjoys the ability to be creative by taking the different aspects of public health and intertwining them to address various health issues. This inspiration in the public health field has led him to travel around the world addressing health issues.
Since graduating from SIUE in 2017 with a bachelor’s in public health from the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior (SEHHB), Huichapa has worked with the World Health Organization on malaria research in Ghana, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, contributed to development projects around west Africa and Europe, and is now in Guinea teaching gardening for sustenance, soil improvement, and poultry production.
“My final internship in Ghana while at SIUE was a huge stepping stone and opened the door for my return back to the country and the rest of my adventures after graduating,” said Huichapa.
“My professors in the public health department had a huge impact on my career decisions,” he added. “Having had a diverse group of professionals expose me to the various fields in which health can be applied inspired me to pursue alternative approaches to today’s health issues. The professors I had the privilege of learning from at SIUE were some of my first role models whose encouragement and support led to my success after graduating.”
Huichapa hopes his experience in the field encourages and inspires others that want to pursue a degree in public health. His advice to current students: focus on the community that surrounds them.
“Community is what moves us forward, and we are able to achieve more when we work together,” Huichapa said. “At SIUE, I found various communities across campus and each where significant to my development as a professional and individual. I also encourage everyone to remain foolishly optimistic because there is always a possibility for an opportunity, even in the toughest of situations.”
The SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior prepares students in a wide range of fields, including public health, exercise science, nutrition, instructional technology, psychology, speech-language pathology and audiology, educational administration, and teaching and learning. Faculty members engage in leading-edge research, which enhances teaching and enriches the educational experience. The School supports the community through on-campus clinics, outreach to children and families, and a focused commitment to enhancing individual lives across the region.