Terina Keller, SSH’16, is a Torch Scholar and a selfless humanitarian, a global citizen and a member of the Huntington 100. Here, she reflects on her past five years at Northeastern and looks ahead to her promising career in public health.
You studied sociology, with a concentration in public health. What’s next?
I want to earn my master’s in public health, but my immediate plan is to work in the field to find out what I want to focus on. One potential option is to return to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a nonprofit based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I worked on co-op as a project assistant in 2014. Another possibility is working at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where I recently interviewed for a position that would enable me to work closely with low-income high school students while helping to place them in STEM-related internships at the hospital.
You helped your mom raise your two younger siblings when she was battling breast cancer and you were just 10 years old. How did that experience help to shape your career path?
She was a single mother, working two jobs, and we were moving from house to house with two newborns. I almost had to repeat the fourth grade because I missed so much school as a result of staying home to take care of her and the kids, and my mom didn’t always have the resources to get the kind of treatments that she needed. It made me value health and made me realize that it’s not something that should be taken for granted. When I enrolled at Northeastern, I decided to study sociology because I knew that I wanted to help people. I started thinking about my mom and what she went through, and determined that keeping people healthy was what I wanted to do.
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