Student Spotlight: Samuel Yang

Samuel Yang, MPH student (graduating Spring 2018)
Hometown: Gainesville, FL
Undergraduate school and major/minor: University of Alabama (ROLL TIDE), Environmental Science/Public Policy

Three things you have with you at all times…
Headphones, a water bottle, and a navigation tool!
This makes me sound much more athletic and adventurous than I am. Really, I’m terrible with directions and easily dehydrated, which would be a bad combination if I were more athletic or adventurous.

What are your hobbies or activities when you aren’t studying or working?
I’m really involved at my church, and also my neighborhood through volunteer service. I turn about every social activity into an opportunity to check out a new restaurant. In addition, I’ve got a pretty solid backlog of books, articles, albums, and TV shows I’m working through.

What would people be surprised to know about you?
I’ve briefly worked a couple of jobs that made a big mark on me and remain important parts of my life – editing news stories doing public outreach at a National Forest, and being a full-time camp counselor. Sometimes, when there’s an exam looming on the horizon, I daydream about those life experiences.

What is a cause you’re passionate about?
As a kid, I was really blessed to have great public schools, public libraries, and public parks as part of my life. Those public spaces shaped me, and I’m passionate about making sure that they are top notch, accessible, and available to every single kid today. That’s a personal thing, but I also happen to believe that our public institutions are part of our public health, too.

What have you learned (or are learning) that has made a difference to you?
Work-life balance is a little overrated. It’s way more fun to let all parts of my life interfere with each other. The things I talk about in class, at church, and around the dinner table are ultimately all connected. I learn more and stress less when I let those connections happen. Plus, this way, I can be just as annoying at school as I am at home.

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