Hey! I’m Lauren, a first year student in Environmental Health Sciences, in the Toxicology sub-plan, and another new SPH student blogger. My education pathway hasn’t brought me very far from home, as I grew up in Dearborn, Michigan and then headed approximately 20 miles west to Ann Arbor for undergrad. In fact, I’m actually still working on that undergrad degree. I’m a 4+1 student, which means overall that I can walk away from UM with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in five years. My fourth year at UM is spent both as an undergraduate senior, and a first year SPH student. This program is also known as SUGS, or Sequential Undergraduate and Graduate Studies.
When I came to UM as a freshman, the School of Public Health wasn’t even on my radar. I had known since middle school that I wanted to go to law school, so UM was a 4 year precursor. I was confident I wanted to practice environmental law — like Erin Brockovich or A Civil Action type stuff, which, for those who know legal terminology, falls under the category of toxic torts. For those who aren’t big environmental law movie fans, both movies are based on legal cases in which contaminated water from industry leads to deleterious health effects in the individuals of the surrounding community.
I declared my undergraduate concentration as Program in the Environment (PitE), a fancy way of saying Environmental Science. After discussion with my PitE advisor and several of my professors about my future career goals, I learned of an Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) degree here at SPH, with a subplan in Toxicology, the study of how substances adversely affect biological systems. Upon looking into SPH further, I discovered the 4+1 program and knew this was the perfect opportunity for me. Environmental Health is what I am most interested in, and here was an opportunity to get a degree in that specific area of environmental science. With only one additional year of school at an incredible university, I could walk away with a B.S. and an M.P.H., and it was an opportunity I could not pass up.