Alumni Spotlight: UAA grad uses her public health education to support UAA students

by Chynna Lockett  |   

Summer Sweet started her health care career working with animals in veterinary medicine. When she moved to Alaska from sunny Arizona, Sweet wanted to make a change. 

“I came back to try and finish my bachelors degree. I had kind of random credits in science and I didn’t really know what to do with it or where to go.” 

She tried a few different classes, then realized she enjoyed health education–even for humans.

“I think it’s important to recognize the idea of environmental health, human health and animal health-everything around us as a whole. If we are not functioning as healthy as we can possibly be then the downfall will affect everyone eventually.”

Sweet enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (BSHS) program at the University of Alaska Anchorage, beginning her journey in Public Health. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic started and Sweet said it left an impact on her education.

“Realizing a lot of the health misinformation that was out there, or just how things are handled when something does happen…I kind of started to get more passionate about [public health]. I started realizing there is a need for it and that I was good at talking to people about health related topics.”

After graduation, Sweet decided to stick around UAA–this time as an employee. Now, she’s a Health Promotion Specialist in the Student Health and Counseling Center where she helps promote awareness and disease prevention to students. Her professors are now her colleagues.

Sweet believes her career reflects well on the BSHS program, as “it shows what someone can do when they come out, the direct product of these professors and the program. Being able to collaborate with them and work with them on projects, and having that same kind of understanding and passion of what we’re all working on together is super exciting.”

The Division of Population Health Sciences at UAA offers a bachelors and masters program, opening the door to a variety of careers that keep people and communities healthy.