“I don’t think I chose public health. Public health chose me.”
Amanda Everman (HUGEN '18), describes her undergraduate experience as “typical.” As a biology major at Penn State University, she sampled a wide variety of courses in different subject areas, including marine biology and human genetics. During her junior and senior years, she worked in a lab that used ants as a model system for infectious disease dynamics.
“The more I learned about genetics, the more I knew it was what I wanted to focus on for my career,” she says. “Because of my positive experience in research and the limited career prospects with only a BS in biology, I decided to get my master’s in a more specific area of biology. I didn’t even know universities offered a master’s in human genetics until I found Pitt’s program, and as soon as I found it, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Now a Dean’s Scholar and master’s degree student in the Department of Human Genetics, Everman plans to pursue a career in genetic research. She hopes to work on projects that aim to improve the quality of human life; for example, investigating the effects of population history on risk for different diseases or studying the underlying genetic components of complex hereditary diseases.
“I think Pitt Public Health will prepare me for this simply because the human genetics program is within the school of public health, so genetics is taught and studied from the public health perspective.”
The Philadelphia native says the short distance from her hometown and in-state tuition are nice bonuses, and she’s enjoying her new city. “I was surprised at how different Pittsburgh is from Philadelphia despite the fact that they’re both in Pennsylvania,” she says. “For example, I live in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, and the houses are all older and more quaint than what you find in Philly. Living in Squirrel Hill is what I like best so far!”