Master of Public Health student, Kristy Kontowsky, has always felt a sense of belonging at Michigan State University. As she thought about continuing her education after her undergraduate experience at MSU, she knew that she wanted to stay in the Spartan community. 

Now finishing up her second semester in the program, Kontowsky reflects on how she became interested in public health and shares why she loves being a Spartan in this Q&A. 

Why are you pursuing a public health degree?
I went from social work to wanting to be a therapist to trying to find something related to that. I landed on health administration and that’s when I realized there’s so much more that goes on in a hospital. I had an internship at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing during my senior year at MSU in the foundation department. Specifically, I worked as the event intern. It was very eye-opening to see how things like that are put together and all of the inter-personal relationships that make the hospital run. It was very rewarding work. Then Covid-19 happened, and that’s when I saw a lot more options in the health world. I already was interested in being in a medical setting but I didn’t necessarily want to deal with patients directly. But I still wanted to help people and contribute.

Why did you choose Michigan State University?
I went to MSU for my undergrad program, and I did a lot of work building a good foundation for myself in the work I have done to a) be accepted into this program b) improve my skills in this field and c) make great network connections with organizations I am involved in. I was accepted into several graduate programs (and I’ll be the first in my family to earn a master’s degree when I graduate!) but I wanted to stay at MSU to combine my skills of what I have already as well as use the online design to give me the freedom to study and seek greater experiences related to my field.

What does being a Michigan State Spartan mean to you?
I love being a Spartan. I remember my freshman year and the friends I made. I remember the walks I would take, the bus routes I took, and the buildings I got lost in on my first day of class. Being a Spartan means being a community and helping each other when we truly need it…being a shoulder to cry on in the moments when we are down. 

You’re two semesters in… how has your MPH experience been so far?
I think it is going well so far! I really like the professors in this program, they're all very knowledgeable and very understanding when it comes to the dynamics for an online MPH program. The content has been very heavy but I see its value and application into the real world. Professors have also been very understanding, especially after the traumatic incident on campus this semester. It was rocky getting back to a new normal after that. 

What are you looking to forward to learning/work on during your MPH experience?
I am looking forward to gaining more personal and professional connections in this field. So far during my time in the MPH program, I have met some amazing academic scholars and that is something I heavily value being in this community. I feel like networking is important and being a Spartan is a great way to do that. Having such a great medical community within the MSU alumni is very helpful to making the connections we get through my education and the experiences that can be fostered from that knowledge. As I continue my courses and continue meeting with advisors, I really look forward to all the  amazing people in the health care community and future leaders here. 

How do you plan to make a difference post-graduation?
I’m only in my second semester, but I know that I want to be a compassionate leader when I go out into the field. I want to lead with clear, empathic decisions for people who are being impacted by tragedy.

What do you like to do outside of work and schoolwork?
I really love to play with my two German Shepherds at home. I also volunteer at Sparrow once a week and help them keep organized. And they also run a dog therapy program so it’s fun being around that.


April 27, 2023