Coming from Napa Valley, California, Elizabeth Sklar took a semester off school to be part of the Hillary Clinton campaign. She worked on the advance team right up until November 8, Election Day. Now, she is back at UConn combining her love of public health and medicine by obtaining a degree in allied health sciences. Hear what Elizabeth has to say about her experiences both inside and outside of school.
What attracted you to UConn? I enjoy traveling, and UConn was an opportunity to travel somewhere different. It is one of best schools that I got into, and I liked it when I came to visit.
What is your major, and why did you choose it? I am an allied health sciences major. I am really into public health. When I applied to UConn, I didn’t notice any majors related to public health, and I came in as a physiology and neurobiology student. The day before classes started, I heard that there was an allied health major. I quickly switched to that.
My end goal is to mix nonprofit work with public health and medicine, and allied health helps me achieve that. I take science classes, but I also take nutrition classes, policy classes and classes that teach me about health administration. I am receiving a well-rounded education. This major helps me to decide what I want to pursue out of all of the things that I love.
Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why? At the end of the last spring semester, I went back to California. While looking for jobs, I stumbled upon an internship that turned into a job with the Hillary Clinton campaign. I was helping the campaign to organize in California. By July, I found myself working on the advance team. Many people do not know what the advance team is or does. We were the people that created Secretary Clinton’s events. So, anything that you saw on television regarding her, or her campaign, was a product of our work. We were the people who found the venue and designed the set, sound and staging.
On a regular day, the headquarters in New York would email me and ask if I could be in a certain city on a certain day at a certain event. They would send me, along with two to ten other people, to that city. We all worked to find a venue for whatever the event was, whether it was a press conference or a big rally. We created diagrams of how we wanted it to look and found everything we needed to make it happen.
There were about 150 of us for the campaign, with ten to twelve events per day and two to ten people per event. There were people all over the country traveling constantly to work on this campaign.
It was great being able to look at politics from the inside out. I learned so much and gained a lot of experience. I can now solve problems, overcome obstacles that come my way and work with other people. Although the campaign does not have a direct link to health, it will benefit me in whatever I decide to do.
Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies. Most of the experiences are extracurricular. Right before I came to UConn, I had an incredible opportunity to spend four months in Tanzania working in a hospital. I wanted to make sure that the healthcare field was one that I wanted to get into. I got to work with doctors and medical students that were local to the hospital. We spent time in schools giving out vitamins and teaching the locals how to brush their teeth.
I found that I really enjoy the hands-on and public health parts of healthcare, and I hope to continue down that path. This experience is how I knew that I was going to stick it out through all of the hard chemistry and biology classes that come with a degree in health science.
What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career? Classes have been my biggest challenge here at UConn. I come from a small town with a small high school. There is a lot more competition here. Everybody is trying to get all A’s and to do the best that they can. The stress is definitely apparent.
When do you expect to graduate? What then? I will be graduating in the spring of 2019, and then I want to attend graduate school. I am on the pre-med track, and medical school is a possibility in my future. My ultimate goal is to work at clinics in underdeveloped communities both inside and outside of the United States, either practicing medicine or teaching people about health.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? I really like this major. I think that it helps me to grow in so many ways that I don’t think other majors could. I am in my sophomore year of school, and, at this point, I am hoping to get involved with research that relates to my major.
By: Michelle Sarta