Watching the television show “House” was the spark that led Department of Health Sciences alumna Danielle Saunders ‘20 to where she is today. “It started with a last–minute decision to apply to UCF, and it is one of the best decisions I made,” Saunders says. Although she was interested in a career related to medicine, Saunders didn’t know which avenue to pursue. Two courses set her along her path: professional development and epidemiology. “I was totally unfamiliar with public health and epidemiology until I took these courses,” recounts Saunders.
Reflecting on her time at UCF, Saunders emphasized the importance of perseverance. “I failed a chemistry course and almost changed my major, but I took it again and passed.” Saunders’ advice: “Don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t make decisions based on fear, because sometimes you just don’t realize how capable you are.”
Saunders graduated this year from the University of Florida’s Master of Public Health Program and says the health sciences courses she took at UCF and the exposure to research through the research methods course helped her succeed in graduate school.
Saunders’ career aspirations are to make substantial contributions to research and to impact the health outcomes and quality of life of vulnerable populations. She plans to start her career as a research coordinator and ultimately work as a public health officer with the U.S. Air Force.