One Final Step

Senior Profile: Mariah Morris
Degree: Public Health and Education, BA
Hometown: Dubuque, Iowa 

Mariah Morris 2021 public health gradNot quite done.

While spring represents graduation for many, it’s not unusual for College of Education students in health and human services fields to finish up their degrees with a final internship or clinical experience. As public health and education major Mariah Morris joined fellow students in the first walk across the University of Northern Iowa commencement platform in 18 months, she had one final step to complete her degree: a summer internship with Unity Point Occupational Health in Cedar Falls.

Working under the supervision of a Unity Point wellness coordinator Kali Gamerdinger (BA, '19), Morris gained experience through activities including: 

  • creating wellness-oriented promotional handouts, posters and displays for employers who use their services. 
  • delivering a wellness lunch and learn presentation on “Bedtime Blues: How Blue Light Can Affect Your Sleep.” (Think, scrolling through your smartphone while in bed….) 
  • assisting with a community wellness challenge, helping employees of the occupational health office track their water intake and exercise. 

“Internships help you get a feel for what working in your field may look like and improve on and gain a number of valuable skills. Also internships are a great way for students to build connections and increase your network,” Morris says. “The people I met throughout my internship helped open new doors for me to help get me started in my professional career.”

With summer ending, she’s busy with job applications, ready for a full-time career in a field she wasn’t even thinking of as she entered UNI. 

“When first applying I was undecided. After exploring different majors, I soon found public health and it was actually the professors who helped me pursue this major. All the professors in this department have a true passion for this field and are always willing to help you in any way,” Morris says. 

Mariah Morris public health internship“I have always had a passion for helping others and wanted a career where I can get involved and implement new ideas to try and improve the life of individuals within my community.” she says. “At first, I thought about nursing, but then, after discovering public health, I liked all the variety this field has to offer. A degree in public health allows you to support people in a variety of settings to help reach their goals, no matter if that means physical, emotional or mental goals.”

With her internship experience, Morris would welcome a position in a healthcare setting. “I hope to help connect patients with resources they need, show support and advocate to help improve the overall health and wellness for community members,” she says.