Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows Program

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Paul D. Coverdell Fellows
Patricia Roque
Fellows Coordinator

Coverdell Fellow Spotlight: Erin Millsapps, RPCV South Africa

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Erin Millsapps, Outreach Coordinator

 

During my time in South Africa as a Community HIV/AIDS Outreach Coordinator in the Peace Corps, I gained knowledge and skills in the field of public health. The experience inspired me to continue my journey in the public health field through a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH). After returning from the Peace Corps, I had a difficult time deciding between a concentration in epidemiology or global health when applying to universities. The University of South Florida was the only school that offered an MPH program with a concentration in both epidemiology and global health so that I would not have to choose between the two. I was also grateful that USF had a Coverdell Fellowship program that would make it possible for me to afford graduate school. 
My time in the college of public health (COPH) has been extremely rewarding. When I first moved to Tampa from Colorado, I took a position working as a health educator for the Florida Department of Health while attending classes. I also joined the S-board for the Activist Lab where I continue to meet weekly with Dr. Karen Liller. With the Activist Lab, I have worked on the Adopt-A-School project and also planned, researched, and facilitated a Lunch and Learn panel on how COVID-19 has impacted LGBTQ+ youth. After my first year, I applied for a graduate research position and currently work with Dr. Barr in the Center for Global Health and Infectious Disease Research working on various research projects. I am also currently the Vice President of the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Student Association where I have the opportunity to work with our faculty mentor, Dr. Jason Salemi, on various projects and event ideas. 
As a current Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) and with the Coverdell Fellowship, I have the opportunity to serve the greater Tampa Bay area, as well as promote the Peace Corps goal of improving the understanding of the host country on the part of American citizens. I have been involved with Student Health Services' COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic, WellFed, Adopt-A-School, Prephugee, Coverdell Panels, Friends of South Africa, and the Tampa Bay Mayor’s Youth Corps. Overall, USF and the COPH has been the perfect place for me to continue my journey in the field of public health, and I am extremely grateful for all of the connections with professors, staff, peers, other Coverdell fellows, and community members that I have made along the way.