Alumni and Student Spotlight: Sierra Moore

HRCMA Student Sierra Moore

Q: What was your background prior to starting the HRCMA program? (Undergrad major, and/or work experience) 

Sierra: I attended Kalamazoo College where I received my BA in Biology. I’ve always been interested in science, and I felt my degree from K was well-rounded. I’ve also always had a passion for health and wellness. It’s been something I’ve preached and practiced for as long as I can remember and grounds me during stressful times. Right after graduating, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do so I took a gap year, stayed at home, and worked at a physical therapy office and as a substitute teacher. I acquired a role in 2019 known as The National Cherry Queen. In this role, I was an ambassador for the cherry industry and the Grand Traverse Region. This role required me to communicate and interact with various audiences, educate others about cherries, and learn why my hometown was so unique in growing cherries. I had never done anything like it. Public speaking, interviewing, and connecting with members of my community were very foreign to me. However, it soon became something I loved doing. Little did I know that I could combine two of my passions; health and communication, and earn a Master's degree in it.

Q: What have you done since joining the program?

Sierra: Since joining the program, I have acquired a job in the Health and Risk Communication Center (HRCC) as a clerical assistant. I help Dr. Lapinski, director of the HRCC, manage her calendar as well as assist in any outreach and promotional efforts by the HRCC and HRCMA. This role has also allowed me to build strong relationships with the faculty and staff affiliated with both the HRCC and the HRCMA. I have also been a part of multiple research teams that addressed topics including Type 1 diabetes and patient-provider care via telemedicine. I recently finished my internship this past summer with a non-profit organization called Norte. They specialize in youth biking, getting people outside, and being active to live healthier, happier lives. 

Q: What is your favorite thing about the HRCMA program? 

Sierra: My favorite thing about the HRCMA program would have to be the professors and faculty. This is a hard question to answer because I want to say the classes, because I have learned so much since being here and there have been more moments than not that I leave class knowing I am exactly where I should be. However, I would probably not say that if it weren’t for the incredible mentors I have in this program. The HRCMA program has attracted a wide array of talented and passionate health communicators that make learning from them so much better. They truly believe in every student and want us to be the absolute best we can be.

Q: Why did you pick the HRCMA program? 

Sierra: I picked the HRCMA program because it allowed me to combine two of my passions, health and communication. The program is small, and therefore, allows students and staff to connect on a more personal level and build meaningful relationships with one another which I think is extremely impactful on the type of education you receive. This program is also specifically designed to tailor to the student's interests in health and communication. There is a set of core classes that round out your education in health and risk communication but there is plenty of room to take the classes you want to take and help guide you in the direction of health communication you want to go in.

Q: What has been your favorite class and why? 

I really enjoyed JRN 873: Environmental, Science, and Health Reporting, that I took during my first semester in the program. In this class, we had the opportunity to write for a local online news site called Great Lakes Echo. I was challenged in many ways such as reaching out to people to schedule interviews, writing journal articles, and reporting on health and science news that could be readable by the public. All of this was brand new to me, but I had so much fun with it since I could add put my own spin on it. I also enjoyed CAS 826, Health Communication for Diverse Populations, because this course really laid the foundation of health communication for me, specifically for intervention and campaign development.

Q: When will you be graduating and plans after graduation?

I will be graduating in December 2023. My plan after graduating is to job search. I am keeping my options open; however, I would love to eventually work in campaign development/strategic planning for health interventions. I would love to work for a company or organization that is passionate about health, specifically from a holistic health standpoint (healthy eating, staying active), the environment, or children's health. But really my interests are wide, and I am excited to see what all is out there in the health communication world!

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