Student Spotlight: Brian Stennett

A firefighter and an MPH online student

Brian Stennett is an online student, currently in his second semester pursuing MPH in Epidemiology, Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security concentration at UIS. “I was looking for a program that was reputable, affordable and flexible that would also have the area of focus that I was looking for; the Public Health programs at UIS was a perfect fit for that”.

Brian works full-time as a firefighter and paramedic in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.  In his job at the fire department, he sits on the Health and Safety Committee and also serves as the department Infection Control Officer. Key among his duties include tracking occupational injuries and exposures; and his office is working toward developing a better way to track data and improve safety of firefighters.

The need to develop a better educational background for first responders that manage infection control programs at his office, motivated Brian to pursue a Master of Public Health degree program that would prepare him for the epidemiology side of occupational injury assessment as well as have a focus on emergency services.  He found the Public Health program at UIS very suitable, with a well-rounded curriculum that caters for the flexible schedule that his home and work required.

He finds the 12 credits per semester course load challenging, but manageable and not overwhelming as long as time is invested into it.  In addition, he feels pleasantly surprised that much of the curriculum meshes very well with his previous work experience, and this enables him to easily apply the concepts to the real world.

Brian is currently working on a project for MPH 531, Community Health Education class, to develop a hearing loss prevention program for his fire department.  This program according to him will not only serve the needs of the class project, but has been given approval to be implemented at his fire department upon completion.  “I look forward to furthering this type of real world education and graduating with a quality degree from UIS”.