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Student Profile: Sunny Sun, M.P.H. ’23 (Social and Behavioral Sciences)

March 14, 2022

Why did you choose the Yale School of Public Health?

YSPH had everything I was looking for in an MPH program: faculty who conduct research in my areas of interest (environmental health including housing, neighborhoods, green spaces, climate change; racial, social, and environmental justice; health equity); a strong commitment to community engagement, value of student voices and participation; the U.S. Health Justice concentration and generous financial aid. My undergraduate institution has a student body of 40,000, so I wanted a smaller school feel for graduate school. It was also clear during prospective student events that the YSPH community is super friendly and supportive.

What were you doing before enrolling at YSPH?

Since graduating with my bachelor’s in psychology in 2018, I’ve been a researcher at Child Trends, working on child welfare and criminal/juvenile justice systems research. My colleagues and I recently published a paper about the impact of COVID-19 among young people currently and formerly in foster care.

What are your favorite aspects of the YSPH academic program?

I feel so fortunate to be in an environment surrounded by people who are doing such amazing work. I am constantly inspired and learning about new topics that I want to incorporate into my work or learn more about. We have a diverse student body who are involved and willing to use their voice for what matters, not only in public health but within the New Haven, Yale, and YSPH communities. Everyone is so kind and supportive, and faculty are receptive to student feedback.

What was your most impactful experience outside of class?

In Dr. Danya Keene’s Housing and Health Equity Lab, I’ve really enjoyed sitting in on our weekly lab meetings and learning about what other students are working on and the partnerships/projects the lab has with local community organizations. I’m looking forward to my independent study in the lab next semester!

Do you have a favorite Yale place or New Haven food?

My go-to food spot is Family Mediterranean Pizza—they have so many options, I can always find something that meets my cravings. I also find myself dreaming about the cinnamon bun at Willoughby’s.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

My goal is to make a positive, meaningful, and lasting impact in the fight towards a just future for all. I’m still exploring and keeping an open mind about what exactly that might look like career-wise. For now, I plan to do this through research and evaluation focused on ways we can reduce inequitable health outcomes for communities of color and immigrants, and by partnering with community organizations to improve access to basic physiological and safety needs.

Submitted by Denise Meyer on December 06, 2021