My guest on this episode is Nianest Maria Alers Berreto, an epidemiologist and podcaster.
Meet Nianest Maria Alers Berreto, MPH
Nianest is an infectious disease Epidemiologist focusing on vector-borne diseases. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in biomedical sciences from the University of Puerto Rico, and her Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health. After receiving her masters, she completed a 2-year fellowship in Applied Epidemiology at the Hawaii Department of Health.
Besides her work as an epidemiologist she currently hosts a public health and health humanities podcast where she uses science communication and storytelling tools to promote health and wellness within the Hispanic and Spanish-speaking community.
Listen to the episode
Nianest's Advice to Students of Public Health
Be flexible. If you see an opportunity at your school to get some work experience, but it’s not exactly the field that they’re interested in, she recommends giving it a try. You never know who you’re going to meet or what skills you’re going to acquire. For example, working as a data collector is not very glamorous, but interviewing people is an important and valuable skill that can be developed.
Seek out volunteer opportunities outside of school and outside of your practicum.
Apply for fellowships. They’re a great way to get your foot in the door, especially for epidemiology.
Also, take the thesis route. She mentioned that she took the capstone course route, but wishes she had done the thesis instead. She feels as though the thesis route would have given her more quantitative analysis experience.
Nianest's Advice to Graduates Looking to Start Public Health Careers
Look into fellowships. Nianest applied for the CSTE fellowship the fall after my graduation and was accepted. She realized it was challenging to find a position as an epidemiologist right out of school, especially since she didn't have as much quantitative analysis experience. Many fellowships consider professionals who have graduated within 5 years of the start of the fellowship.
Connect with Nianest
LinkedIn: Nianest Alers Barreto
Podcast: Mejor Con Guanabanas – Better with Soursop