University of Sourthern California


MPH Scholarship Spotlight: Vanessa Murcia

Vanessa Murcia online mph studentVanessa Murcia was recently admitted to the USC MPH online program in the Health Services and Policy Concentration and is a scholarship recipient. Read on to learn more about her experiences and plans.

Describe your journey over the past few years.

Over the past few years, I have attended school full-time while working full-time for the state of California. I have obtained two associate degrees from Cerritos Community College and an undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Long Beach in health care administration.

What led you to pursue an MPH degree?

I decided to pursue an MPH because I have firsthand experience of the inequitable distribution of health care and believe we must work together to make a positive impact and sustainable changes in our nation.

Why did you choose the USC MPH online program?

I chose the USC MPH online program because I was attracted to the variety of tracks as well as the flexibility to be able to balance my full-time job as well as pursue my educational goals.

Tell us about your experience in the MPH online program. What have been your favorite classes and experiences so far?

My experience in the MPH online program has been mostly positive. I have been able to meet colleagues around the world who are willing to work together toward the same end goal and support one another, which has led to the beginning of some great friendships. My favorite class was the Foundations in Health Education and Promotion because I was able to examine the determinants of health behavior and strategies for change at an individual, group, and community level. I also enjoyed the biostatistics class because it opened my eyes as to what field would be the best fit for me and my career goals, I’ve always been a math person, so learning I can utilize my mathematical skills to impact the public health field positively was eye-opening to me.

How did the scholarship help you to attend USC?

I’ve been working hard to save money for grad school, but I would not have been able to afford my education and continue to live on my own with just my employment. I probably would have had to seek a second employer. It has also allowed me to devote a significant amount of time to my education. This scholarship assisted me in reducing the price of schooling as well as the number of hours I will be required to work to support myself through grad school.

How do you see your degree affecting your next steps in public health? How do you hope to make a difference?

Getting this degree will open doors to me in work that I feel will be notable in our society. I hope to be able to make a positive impact in the lives of those around me and those that I have yet to cross paths with by using the tools acquired through USC’s MPH program.  

Are you currently working, interning, or volunteering? If so, where?

I work full time for the state of California Employment Development Department Disability Insurance branch, where I determine whether an individual qualifies to receive benefits.

Learn More

Learn more about the USC MPH online program at: