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SPH Alumni Reconnect During Spring Event at Drexel and Dornsife

May 19, 2016

Kayli Moran had an idea.

As Director of Student Services and Alumni Relations at the Dornsife School of Public Health, it seemed to her that the lonely and challenging gap between graduation and a successful career should be filled.

Her colleague Caroline Voyles, MPH ’15, Director of Student Placement and Partnership Development, agreed: she partnered with Kate Fox, a young alumna of Jefferson’s School of Population Health to found a network for young public health professionals in the Delaware Valley.

On April 28, a kickoff event for the newly created Public Health Young Leaders Association (PHYLA) was held on Drexel’s University City campus in Nesbitt Hall. Nearly 80 public health practitioners attended from across the region. At this event, a panel of 5 young leaders spoke of their experiences in the field, including two Dornsife MPH alumni, Angus Shieh, MPH ‘11, and Shoshana Akins, MPH ’15.

“We’re thrilled that so many energetic, passionate young professionals turned out to help celebrate the launch of PHYLA,” said Voyles. “We know that such a dynamic response means that there’s a need for leadership development and networking opportunities for those in the field and we’re ready to put our steering committee to work.”

Voyles and Fox received over 60 applications for their first steering committee cohort. As the association takes shape, this group, including Yolande Greene MPH ’15, will be planning next steps and leadership development opportunities for the association. The next social event is Public Health Quizzo on June 7 at Field House.

In early May, Drexel University alumni from all programs and class years came back for annual alumni weekend activities, ranging from a night behind the scenes at the Academy of Natural Sciences, to a Drexel Beer Garden complete with a custom craft beer created by a Drexel alumnus’ Flying Fish Beer Company.

At DrexelFest, leaders of Drexel’s Public Health Alumni Network (PHAN) donned their warmest SPH gear and encouraged people to imagine and describe what health equity looked like to them at the Dornsife SPH table. Maddi Davidson, MPH ’15, Cecilia Alcala, MPH ’14, and Nick Thompson, MPH ’15, were among many alumni who came out to network with other SPH alumni and students, as well as other attendees from other schools and degree programs.

The following day, SPH alumni were given a special opportunity to meet and talk with APHA President Camara Jones just before the Mann Lecture.

“Our meet and greet with Dr. Camara Jones was an opportunity of a lifetime for alums and we look forward to providing similar opportunities to members in the future,” said Alcala. “As PHAN Board Members, we are excited to have a platform to increase alumni engagement opportunities, as well as student and alumni interactions within the Dornsife SPH.”

To top it all off, Drexel’s first Day of Giving garnered new support for the school and university. Themed after a mission to rescue Mario the Dragon, the Drexel 24 Hours of Impact online event engaged more than 2,880 donors and collected over $713,000 in gifts, and donations are still rolling in. Early reports showed more than 20 gifts to the Dornsife School of Public Health were contributed by alumni, faculty, staff and students, totaling more than $3,800. And the Dean’s Advisory Council pledged to match gifts made on the Day of Giving.

“It’s amazing to see such support - every gift makes a difference for the students and school,” said Kevin McNamara, assistant dean for Institutional Advancement. “It’s been a tremendous week for all Drexel alumni and for the Dornsife School of Public Health community.”