Welcome to “3 Questions with …”, a recurring feature on the Career Center blog. We’re asking alumni of all graduation years and career interests to share a bit of their experiences and advice.
Catherine Gross, ’21, Community Health Fellow at Project Horseshoe Farm
1. In just a few sentences, please tell us about your current job/graduate program/vocational endeavor.
I serve as a Community Health Fellow with Project Horseshoe Farm in Pomona, California. The fellowship is a gap year citizen service program that has provided me with unmatched opportunities to be a part of community-driven efforts to improve the health and well-being of our vulnerable neighbors in Pomona. The people I get to work with on a daily basis include youth in a local after-school program, seniors living in a nursing home, community members living with mental illness, and people transitioning out of homelessness. I have learned so much about people’s experiences and struggles with healthcare and the importance of empathic and supportive relationships to people’s health and wellbeing.
2. How did your time at Tufts influence your career journey?
I first heard about Project Horseshoe Farm through the Career Center and the Community Health department, so in that sense, I may not have found this opportunity without their help. Everything that I learned through my studies in Psychology and Community Health has been incredibly useful in my fellowship. It is very fulfilling to see all of the concepts that I learned about in class playing out before my eyes and to be able to deepen my understanding of theoretical frameworks of public health and mental illness with my own personal experiences working in Pomona. I have found the intersectional nature of the studies I had at Tufts and the general inclination of the Tufts community towards civic life to be really useful in this community-based work.
3. What advice would you offer to a student who wants to pursue a career path like yours?
I don’t know that I am in a position to be offering advice given how early on I am in my career path, but for anyone interested in public health, I would say that community involvement and engagement is invaluable. I have found it really helpful to get to know the history and culture of Pomona, to attend community events, and to take all opportunities available to hear from community members and their experiences. This engagement has deepened my appreciation for the community and allowed me to better serve the community members and organizations that we work with through the fellowship. Relationship-based work is vital to successful public health efforts, whether that be with the people you serve or other organizations in the area that are also serving the community.
About the Organization
Project Horseshoe Farm is a non-profit organization with sites in Greensboro and Marion, Alabama and Pomona, California. HSF offers service and support programs to improve the health and quality of life of adults and children in our partner communities. Our approach includes an educational grant supported “gap year” Volunteer Service Fellowship that is mobilizing a generation of top recent college graduates from across the nation to serve others as they learn about Horseshoe Farm’s approach to helping others and strengthening community health. Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
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Chat with people like Catherine in our flash mentoring database, The Herd