After earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University at Buffalo in 2002, John Gaeddert spent several years in the working world. “I gradually realized that I wanted a degree that would let me work in a variety of industries and take on a variety of challenges, such as infectious disease outbreaks, global climate change, disaster preparedness and health behavior promotion,” he said.
Gaeddert decided to return to his alma mater for a Master of Public Health degree. “I knew that UB would be much more affordable than a private college,” he said. “I also knew that because of the School of Public Health and Health Professions’ ties to the Western New York community, I would be able to make connections that would help me during and after graduate school.
“Getting my MPH at UB gave me a well-rounded education,” he said. “Aside from the public health basics, such as epidemiology, biostatistics, health behavior, environmental health and health care administration, I took classes on topics dedicated to public health in global settings, health behavior promotion and obesity.”
Impressed with the dedicated faculty members within the school, Gaeddert said their passion for the field enhanced his classes. Additionally, his internship with the Erie County Health Department provided valuable hands-on experience and introduced him “to the many different aspects of public health in Western New York.”
In his current role as a data manager with the not-for-profit Frontier Science & Technology Research Foundation, Inc., Gaeddert works with study teams for clinical trials. He assembles the necessary paperwork and forms, and communicates with study teams and site staff to ensure that the data is timely and accurate. He also volunteers with the Greater Buffalo Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Gaeddert’s advice to current students to get the most out of their educational experiences? “Studying hard and learning the material is essential, but it is just as important to look at the ‘outside world’ and consider how to apply your time and abilities to those challenges. This is true when you are gathering information for a class project, when you are working a summer job or internship, and when you are looking for full-time work after graduation.”