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Alumni spotlight: Selma Avdic

Name: Selma Avdic
SPHIS Degree: MPH - Health Policy
Graduation Date: 2019

Reflection on time at SPHIS

As a Louisville native, the University of Louisville was always a top choice for SPHIS alumna, Selma Avdic. She received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from UofL in 2017 and graduated in 2019 with a Master in Public Health (MPH) from SPHIS.

During high school, Selma developed an interest in policy and politics. She said, “I discovered the field of public health during undergrad and felt that it fused many of my interests into one field.” She decided to pursue a public health degree because of it offered versatility and job security. Studying health policy appealed to her “because of the unique intersection of policy, economics, and data.”

While at SPHIS, she worked for the UofL Division of Infectious Disease as a student assistant at the federally funded 550 Clinic. During her time at the clinic, Selma “gained experience working with people with various backgrounds and had exposure to the administrative side of public health and healthcare.”

Professional Experience

After graduating SPHIS, Selma secured a position as a Program and Policy Analyst for the Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Most of her day is dedicated to working on a new behavioral health initiative, but her other responsibilities include creating documents, researching literature, strategic planning for specific programs and projects, working with a governor-appointed council, and taking part in various equity work. 

However, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, she switched gears and was heavily involved with contact tracing. She also assisted with COVID-19 efforts to ensure equity for people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind.

When asked how her SPHIS degree aided in her career, she explained, “My SPHIS degree provided me with the skills necessary to be a competitive [job] candidate. I have utilized various concepts learned from my time at SPHIS. From understanding the importance of how data is collected to conducting policy analyses, my degree helped me secure my current role.”

Advice to students

Selma encourages current students to network, attend conferences, and take advantage of internship opportunities. She said public health can get overwhelming at times, but to remember “why you got involved and what your long-term goals are as it will help alleviate some of the stress.”

She added, “It is fine to graduate and still be unsure what it is you want in a job. When applying and interviewing for jobs, ask all the questions you can. Don’t be afraid to try to negotiate and keep pushing forward until you get what you want. Avoid the pressure of settling for a job if you know the role or the employer is not a good fit for you.”

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