Arlita Willman

Arlita Willman

Research Student

Arlita Willman

Master of Public Health (MPH) with specialisation in Health Promotion

Mode of study: Part-time, External

Country: Australia

Previous Education: Bachelor of Arts (Psychology & Anthropology) (Psychology Honours 1st Class)

My main motivation for enrolment in a Master of Public Health at UNSW was my strong interest in public health, as it unites my love of evidence and evaluation with my desire to create sustainable, meaningful change for the better.  I chose to study at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW in particular because there was a great range of electives to choose from.

Most important thing learned

To take full advantage of all the resources at your disposal. As an external student, I found it tough at first to access the support and help I needed in my degree. However, once I started to ask for help, and proactively sought learning opportunities, I found that all the lecturers, tutors and even my peers were so open to answering questions and bouncing ideas around in a virtual space. It’s not a new lesson, but one that I really understood once I had finished my studies – if in doubt, just ask.

Most challenging thing

Balancing work, study and free time. I found that during university semesters, I needed to make a conscious commitment to study, which for me meant reducing my free time. As I progressed through the course, I found that telling my friends and family that I needed to make this trade-off during semesters reduced a lot of my stress and meant I had support when I needed it.

Enjoyed the most

I thoroughly enjoyed the content and courses themselves. The MPH had such a great array of electives - I managed to study health promotion, ethics and law and outbreak investigation all in the same degree. I found the content absolutely fascinating, and to be honest – I’d love to have access to even more of the electives as I couldn’t get to all of them.

Message to newly commencing students

Savour the resources and opportunities you are afforded as a student at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW. If you are enjoying a course and are wondering how to turn it into a career – ask your lecturer. They have such a wealth of knowledge and in my experience, are more than happy to share. If you can, make sure you get experience through an internship or find a job where you can apply your knowledge as you learn it – it makes the learning experience so much more engaging.

How degree will assist in your career

My MPH has already assisted me in my career, affording me the opportunity to quickly make the transition from research and disability sector work into a Health Promotion position with NSW Health. Day to day, my MPH has given me the solid theoretical foundation upon which to build my career in population health, as well as an eagerness to use all available resources to full advantage.