Beth Appert, an Oregon State alum with a Master’s in public health with a focus on international health, is working as an AIDS Program Coordinator at Medical Teams International in Portland. An advanced degree from Oregon State helped her land a job in a down economy. In a year, she will move to Mozambique to develop programs there with community organizations. Beth is just one Oregon State graduate who is Solving Global Problems.
Tell me about your position in Portland.
I work at Medical Teams International (MTI) as an AIDS Program Coordinator. In a year, I will be moving to Mozambique to work with our local partner, Kuwangisa. My department at MTI, Technical Services, does a lot of backstopping for different projects to ensure research is done accurately and programs are run effectively. We really try to understand what the people in the area we are working with want and what they feel that they need. Then we partner with community organizations to achieve their goals. Essentially, I am working myself out of a job by empowering local partners to develop, monitor and evaluate their own HIV/AIDS projects.
Why do you think Portland is an ideal area to work in?
I love Portland. People are so open. It is a very practical, realistic and passionate place, and I think that lends to a mentality that is necessary to do what we do. I believe that our work is particularly beneficial to the region because we offer a way for Portland to be connected with people all over the world.
Did you do an internship?
I did an internship with a different non-profit organization and I think my experience there really helped me to get a job.
How did you find a job?
I applied to many organizations in the Northwest as well as overseas. Some positions I didn’t get. But, I think, in the long run, the company I work for is a good fit for me.
How did OSU prepare you for the working world?
At OSU, I worked in teams a lot. When you work with a multi-dimensional team, as I do now, and find the strengths of each individual, you will have a positive outcome. We also covered many international issues in my classes and most of my projects were directly applicable to what I am doing now.
How were you able to set yourself apart from other applicants?
Having a Masters in Public Health (MPH) is a great qualifier. Making connections is essential, as well. Ultimately, having an education combined with some of my life and work skills really paid off.
What advice would you give other OSU students that are about to try and enter the working world?
I think you can find your road by tapping into what you’re passionate about and being determined to find your way. Don’t be afraid to try classes that don’t pertain to your major. Volunteer work also looks great on a resume, is a great way to make connections and works as an avenue to discover whether or not you have chosen the right field.
How do you see the impact you will make within the field of public health?
On a community level, I want to get people involved in a vision for people with HIV/AIDS, so that the same standards are kept regardless of the region. I’m providing technical solutions for projects so they can learn how to flourish on their own. A global impact I would like to have, therefore, is that the job I have won’t be needed anymore not just because others are doing the work, but because HIV/AIDS will be eradicated.