Alumni and Student Spotlight: Huiyi Liu

HRCMA Alumna Huiyi Liu

Q: What is your background prior to starting the HRC MA program?

I graduated from MSU with a major in Kinesiology & Japanese and a minor in health promotion. Initially, I intended to pursue a career as a PT or OT, but soon realized that it wasn't what I wanted to do. Right after my graduation, the pandemic hit, and I was pretty lost but took the time to explore different paths I could take. I taught English online and joined a non-profit where I spent an entire year as their content creation team lead. This was where my interest in social media management developed.

Q: Why did you pick the HRC MA program?

After realizing I didn’t want to become a PT or OT, I was pretty lost. I knew I wanted to do something health related but didn’t know what. This is where my health promotion minor came in. It allowed me to take some Public Health courses and there, I developed an interest in public health. Initially, I was preparing to apply for MPH programs available in Michigan. However, as I looked at the different courses available for those programs, it felt like something was missing. Many of them were very focused on behavioral science and epidemiological aspects of community health but I knew I was interested in the communication aspect. After a lot of research online, I found the HRC MA program at MSU. I contacted an HRC MA student at the time on LinkedIn to learn more about the program and applied immediately!

Q: What is the most valuable thing you learned from the program?

There are a lot but if I have to choose it would be the application of communication theories to real life issues. This was something I felt like I lacked after getting my undergrad degree. I learned a lot in my undergrad, but it was knowledge I didn’t know how to use. I remember learning about the basics of different communication theories in a health community psychology class and but never got a chance to explore beyond the basics. My first semester with the HRC MA program helped build a strong foundation for understanding the different communication theories used in the health comm field. After my first semester, I was able to apply them to campaigns (with actual clients) we developed in my classes.

Q: How has the HRC MA Program helped you?

I would say it has really helped me build my confidence. I’m still in the process of job searching since I just graduated but I remember being afraid to apply for any jobs that required a certain amount of experience because I didn’t meet the requirement. My mindset is a little different now. I know I have all the knowledge and skills required to be a great health communicator and won’t let that discourage me from applying! Beyond learning about health communication, I also feel more confident in voicing my thoughts. We have small classes and every professor I took a class with really encouraged everyone to join in on conversations to get everyone’s perspective.


Q: What advice would you like to give to incoming & current HRC MA students?

I think this has been said before, but I really encourage incoming and current students to connect with faculty members and other students. 1 ½ – 2 years is a really short time and every class you take matters. I got many great opportunities (like working for the HRCC, interning for McLaren, and being on a research team) because I was able to take the first step in reaching out. Once you take that first step, you’ll find out everyone in the program is very willing to help and you will learn so much from them! If anyone reading this is considering the program, I’d be happy to connect on LinkedIn and answer any questions 😊

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