DALINE DERIVAL, 2003 QUEENS COLLEGE GRADUATE:
PREPARING FOR A CAREER IN PUBLIC HEALTH
NEW YORK, May 16, 2003 -- Since middle school, Daline Derival has aspired to a career in medicine. For years she assumed that meant becoming an M.D. “I thought that in order to help people in the world, I had to be a doctor,” she says. To her own surprise, the St. Albans, Queens, resident has found a different path, and this September, following her graduation from Queens College, she will be entering a master’s program in public health at Emory University.
This switch was not made lightly. As she observes, “I do a lot of research into things I’m interested in.” She has volunteered in the emergency department at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and worked at Jamaica Hospital. At Queens College she has been a peer advisor and on the steering committee of the Science Organization for Minority Students. A psychology major, Derival completed all the premed requirements but organic chemistry when she realized she no longer enjoyed “the hard sciences” such as physics.
At the suggestion of Maureen Pierce-Anyan, director of minority student affairs and pre-professional advisor at Queens College, she began exploring public health, a field of which she was only somewhat aware. “I thought, oh, this is interesting! Then I looked into epidemiology and I really liked it. I’m very interested in infectious diseases and how they spread. I like to ask why.” The prospect of traveling and meeting people in different communities also excites her. Derival, a native of Haiti who came to this country at age six and who visits about once each year, isn’t interested in sedentary work.
Derival speaks with enthusiasm about her coursework in epidemiology, including a class this semester on emerging diseases. “I’ve always been excited about diseases. It’s a weird thing,” she laughs. “They’re always going to be around. People think that as time goes on, we develop antibiotics, but bacteria and viruses are pretty crafty.”
This year she had a chance to learn more about the public health field when she interned at the Harlem Health Promotions Center of the Columbia University School of Public Health. With her usual thoroughness, she also researched the profession. She has set her sights on working at the Centers for Disease Control, directly across the street from Emory, and hopes to hold a part-time job there while doing her master’s coursework.
With her training in psychology, the sciences, and quantitative analysis, Derival seems to have found in public health the niche she sought. “I found out I can help people--which is very clichéd, but it’s ultimately what I want to do.”
Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY), founded in 1937 and located on a 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens, enjoys a strong national reputation for the liberal arts and sciences and professional programs. Master’s degrees are offered in nearly 50 disciplines. Queens College was founded on the conviction that a high-quality education should be accessible to talented individuals from all backgrounds. Its 16,000 students come from more than 140 nations and speak 66 languages—creating an extraordinarily diverse, and welcoming, educational environment. Students are taught by an award-winning faculty renowned for scholarship and dedicated to teaching. Many special programs are offered for honors students, students in pre-law, pre-med and business, adults and “fresh start” students; weekend learners; and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.