Landing a Dream Job with the Center for Disease Control

Recently at the Atlanta residency, we met Dania Thomas, a passionate PhD in Public Health – Epidemiology student and a busy single mother of children ages 1 (son) and 5 (daughter). She has an Associate’s Degree in Chemistry and Sociology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology.  She is currently 1.5 years into her doctoral program.

When asked about her current career status, Dania was excited to report she just landed a dream fellowship at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta!  She persisted through a long process in which she submitted at least 50 applications for positions with the CDC over the span of 3 years.  So she was so pleased when she was contacted for a phone interview with two CDC scientists for a position to do microbiology testing for sexually transmitted diseases.  One was the head scientist for the position and the other was a colleague (another head scientist) helping to choose the best candidate.

The lead scientist asked her questions about her qualifications and experience for the position.  Before  ending the interview, out of curiosity, the second interviewer asked about Dania’s doctoral program at Walden and her main research interests.  Dania gave an overview of Walden and how it offers a global perspective. In addition, she briefly shared her passion for public health and how conducting HIV/AIDS research will allow her to understand and address different health disparities in certain populations. She is originally from Jamaica where AIDS is a huge public health problem and as a result, she developed a keen interest in the issue.

The second interviewer stated he was impressed with her knowledge and passion for public health and the statistics she shared. Dania attributes such knowledge and education to the many scholarly papers and books she has written and read over the 1.5 years since starting the program at Walden University.

Unfortunately, Dania received an email that she was not selected for the STD microbiology testing position.  Following the rejection, the head scientist stressed how impressed they were with the way Dania answered the public health questions and the passion she portrayed while interviewing.  A month later, the head scientist who initially interviewed Dania, contacted her to offer her a fellowship requiring epidemiology data analysis for STDs. Dania stated along with getting the offer, another exciting part of the hiring process was filling out many forms given during the hiring process, and noticing the colleague (the second head scientist) who was just helping the head scientist, is the one who personally requested her to work alongside them. Dania is excited to start her new fellowship this month and is very grateful for the opportunity!

Dania’s advice: “Always put your best foot forward regardless of the situation and NEVER EVER give up – what is for you is for you!”

Thanks to Dania for sharing her story with us and we wish her the best of luck in her new role with the CDC!

Written by Lisa Cook, Senior Director of Career Services

Guest Blog Post: How to Clean Out Your Email In-Box

Recently we posted an article on our Career Services Center LinkedIn group on how to empty out your email in-box.  Fred Sahakian, a Walden doctoral student in Public Policy and Administration, commented that he does this on a regular basis.  I asked him to share his tips and he was open to our posting it on our blog.

Fred Sahakian suggested cleaning out your email in-box as follows:

So first, make this a project that needs to get done with a deadline. It can take weeks to get control of your inbox again, at least from my experience.

1. Go through your email and really delete what you don’t need, this is time consuming but well worth it at the end.

2. As you are cleaning up, start to notice the categories you might want to make for your emails. I have several including Dissertation, ImportantKeep, Read Later, Recipes, Receipts, etc.

3. As you delete, you can start putting things in your different categories. Each email program is different, so whatever you do, test out your program to make sure you can search through all your email later easily. Also, really consider unsubscribing from groups/newsletters that you don’t need.

4. Start to auto filter your email. I send my newsletters to a Newsletter folder, my forums (like LinkedIn and Facebook) to another folder. These keep my inbox super clean.

5. I used to keep email, just because I could, I now just delete it right away. I try not to use my email as a To Do List reminder, this can be tough to do, I use ToodleDo ( ) as at To Do List, there are free and paid versions.

6. Once you have “tamed” your inbox, it gets easier.

7. Now, this sort of feels like cheating, but, as email comes in, it should be from people and issues that require your immediate attention, you can filter everything else, maybe call the folder “Needs Reply Soon”. The idea is to focus on the present and most important. You “park” the other items so they don’t nag you or are on your mind. Just make sure to set aside time each day to get to these “Parked” emails.

After a while, it will get annoying when your inbox gets full, and you just spend the time to clean it up, but at least you’ve been sorting things already and deleting things you don’t need. It’s like cleaning off the coffee table in your house instead of having to clean the entire house!

Thanks to Fred for sharing his tips with us!

Written by Lisa Cook, Senior Career Services Director

Double Transitions: From Dentistry in India to Public Health in the U.S.

Parveen is a Master in Public Health student who contacted Career Services for assistance with a practicum search.  For seven years, she served as an Associate Dentist in India where she performed dental procedures and educated children and families on hygiene.  Moving to the U.S. prompted her to transition into a new public health career.   How did Parveen engage in a proactive practicum search and generate interest in her skills?

She took the following steps to build her qualifications and land the right opportunity:

  • Contacted her Field Experience Coordinator who educated her on the Field Experience process and referred her to Career Services.
  • Worked with a Career Services Advisor to develop a skills-driven, professional resume that highlighted her transferable skills from Dentistry, emphasized her education and volunteer experience, and presented her greatest strengths.
  • Reviewed Field Experience resume samples through OptimalResume, watched Marketing Yourself for Public Health Practicum Opportunities, and gained interviewing skills through the Quick Start video, Interviewing Strategies.
  • Contacted five potential sites, including two sites she located through LinkedIn.
  • Volunteered at a domestic violence center to gain recent experience in the U.S.
  • Practiced interviewing skills with a Career Services Advisor to build confidence and communicate her brand.
  • Received offers from two competitive practicum sites: American Health Association (AHA) and Dental Health Education (DHE).   She decided to complete her practicum at AHA, but did not want to lose her connection with DHE.  She asked to volunteer at DHE a few hours a week outside of her practicum.

Parveen commented on her Walden experience:

“Before contacting Career Services, I was totally clueless [about how to begin] the process. Preparing a resume and writing a statement of purpose for each site was very stressful. Contacting Ms. Janine (Field Experience Coordinator) was a good initiative that I have taken as she referred me to Career Services. I learned great tips and strategies to build and improve my resume, and [boost] my confidence in reaching out to sites. I am 100% sure that I could not have done it without the help of Walden Career Services and their resources. Thanks for helping me and for following up with my progress.”

We wish Parveen the very best as she continues to build experience in the public health field, strengthen her connections with potential employers, and contribute to her community!

Written by Associate Director of Career Services, Dina Bergren

Book Review: 10% Happier by Dan Harris

It is a bit unorthodox for us to write book review about meditation.  But spring is in the air and we’re all ready to break out of our usual routines up here in Minnesota!  So here goes…

Dan Harris is an ABC newscaster who got his start under Peter Jennings and has had some very stressful reporting assignments including 9/11 and the war in Iraq.  He is a very smart, talented individual and newscasters are known for being very “just the facts,” data-driven people.  So I was intrigued to learn Dan Harris had written a book on the benefits of meditation.

The practice of meditation can still hold connotations of being “woo-woo,” as Dan puts it.  In fact, the reason he came up with the title “10% Happier” for his book is because he got tired of the quizzical looks people gave him when he started talking about meditation.  When he stated that he meditated because “it made him 10% happier,” he seemed to gain more credibility with his audience.

So how did Dan discover meditation?  Peter Jennings assigned him to cover the general topic of religion which led him to interview individuals like Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra who advocated living in the present – mindfulness – rather than worrying about the past or future.  Dan’s wife recommended he meet a respected psychiatrist named Mark Epstein who used mindfulness in his work with clients.  Gradually Dan started to meditate on a daily basis and found that he became less reactive in emotionally charged stressful situations.  His path eventually led to a meditation retreat which was very transformational for him.

In winding down his book, Harris gives instructions on how to start a mindfulness meditation practice.  He discusses how medical research now supports meditation as helpful for a number of major health issues such as high blood pressure. CEO’s, scientists and a number of celebrities now meditate to increase their levels of calm, happiness and focus.   A recent Minneapolis Star Tribune article states General Mills is a pioneer in bringing “mindfulness,” or meditation, to the workplace.  Other large Minnesota companies including Target, the Mayo Clinic and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans have some sort of meditation offering for employees.

Additional Resources:

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn is the Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  Here is his brief YouTube video on the health benefits of meditation:

For free guided mindfulness meditations, check this website:

We know our students lead very busy lives filled with school and career demands.  Meditation can be a great stress-reduction strategy so I hope you find this information helpful.

Written by Senior Director of Career Services Lisa Cook

Join Live Webinar: “Navigating USAJOBS.GOV to Obtain an Internship/Career in the Federal Government”

The Department of Health and Human Services welcomes the Walden community to attend their upcoming webinar: “Navigating USAJOBS.GOV to Obtain an Internship/Career in the Federal Government.” 

The webinar will include:

  • Key information regarding internships via the Pathways Program;
  • Key information regarding full-time opportunities in the Federal Government;
  • An interactive live overview of the USAJOBS.GOV website;
  • Helpful job search tips;
  • Downloadable handouts for searching positions by major or discipline, and performing an advanced search;
  • And, a USAJOBS.GOV tutorial.

This webinar will be offered on:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 from 10 – 11:30 a.m. ET

Register here:

(Use password: USAJOBS)

 Wednesday, March 11, 2015 from 3 – 4:30 p.m. ET

Register here:

(Use password: USAJOBS)

 Written by Career Services Advisor Nicolle Skalski

“Developing Social Entrepreneurs” Webinar, Thursday, March 12 from 6 to 7 pm Eastern

Are you familiar with the new and exciting field of social entrepreneurship?

In support of Walden’s mission of positive social change, Dr. Linda Kiltz and Dr. Wendy Andberg and two Walden alumni and a student from Walden’s School of Public Policy and Administration are collaborating with Career Services to offer a fascinating webinar on social entrepreneurship on Thursday, March 12, from 6 to 7 pm Eastern.

This webinar will describe how social entrepreneurship is a vehicle for social change, trends in employment and sectors for social entrepreneurs, and possible career paths. Six social entrepreneurship examples will be covered, including stories from two Walden alumni and one Walden student in public policy and administration, who use social entrepreneurship skills in their careers. They will share their stories and their career paths, and then we will open the discussion up to questions from our live webinar audience.

Regarding our three panelists, Ms. Sharon Jumper and Dr. Ahmed Tudeiru conducted research on the microfinance initiatives in Afghanistan and Southern Ghana, respectively. Dr. Michael Schenck studied the impact of climate change on the village of Newtok, Alaska.

Sharon Jumper, Ph.D. student
After serving as an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, earned her J.D. degree and then practiced law for 10 years. She teaches at universities in the United States, China, and United Arab Emirates, and has published and presented her research at conferences in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Sharon volunteered in Afghanistan, developing training materials for managers of women’s affairs projects and speaking to the nation’s women leaders. She also served on the board of directors for Ariana Outreach, a U.S. based charity for Afghanistan. Her dissertation is a case study of Afghan microfinance projects.

Ahmed Tufeiru, Ph.D.
Ahmed is a Wall Street executive with over 15 years as an investment banker and financial analyst who has worked for many large Wall Street firms. He is currently the director at a quantitative asset management firm in the New York area, where he manages investment operations for multi-strategy portfolios of over $120 billion assets under management.

A native of Ghana, Ahmed serves on the board of directors of KASI Microfinance—a Tamale-based microfinance organization. He established a foundation through KASI that provides affordable access to capital and business training for impoverished women head porters in Southern Ghana. Also, Ahmed is a member of the board of governance of the Center for Media and Peace Initiatives, whose mission is conflict-resolution and socioeconomic development in Africa. An online adjunct faculty member, Ahmed is also the CEO and managing principal of Gateway Consulting Group—a multidisciplinary Ghanaian consulting firm with clients in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in Ghana and beyond.

Michael Schenk, Ph.D.
A former Marine, Michael has served in 25 states and 30 countries, including multiple combat tours. Throughout his service, Michael has earned 14 medals, including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with the Combat Distinguishing Device for valor. His work with Marine Reserves linked military capability and pre-deployment training, with the civilian relocation of Newtok, Alaska, a village of Alaskan Natives that was relocated due to slow-onset, climate-induced environmental changes. Michael is a high school history teacher, coach, and counselor.

To register for our “Developing Social Entrepreneurs” Webinar, Thursday, March 12 from 6 to 7 pm Eastern, please click here.

We hope you’ll join us for this exciting webinar!

Written by Senior Career Services Director Lisa Cook

Walden Career Services Center Joins YouTube and Facebook!

YouTube Channel Career SpotlightsFacebook screenshot

To make our recorded programs more accessible on mobile devices, we recently launched a YouTube Channel featuring our new Career Spotlights and archived webinar recordings. Career Spotlights are short videos of Walden students telling their career success stories. One student tells how she went from being unemployed to landing her dream job with a Fortune 500 Company! Our YouTube Channel also offers a variety of archived webinars to view at your convenience, from our Doctoral Webinar Series to our “Career Opportunities” webinars covering various career fields to our webinars tailored to our undergraduate students. Check it out today!

Have you “liked” our new Facebook community? We now have nearly 900 Likes. Our Facebook community features answers to student questions, announcements of upcoming webinars, articles of interest and TEDx talks you might find interesting. We hope you’ll join us there so you’ll be “in the know!”

Written by Lisa Cook, Senior Director of Career Services