Master of Public Health Student Welcomes Opportunities to Serve and Learn 

Public Health; Social Work; Students

Photo courtesy of Karin Han

Karin Han likes to stay busy.  

 The second-year master of public health student relishes being involved, making a difference and welcomes opportunities to serve and learn. And Washington University and the Brown School are full of opportunities.   

“There are a lot of possibilities for growth at WashU and I am taking advantage of all of them,” she said.   

Han serves as Secretary of the Brown School Student Coordinating Council and holds two research assistant positions.  She recently added to her impressive list of extracurriculars when she was named as a graduate student representative to the WashU Board of Trustees for the 2022-23 academic year. 

“If you can believe it, I am less busy now than I used to be as an undergrad at Vanderbilt University,” she said.  

Han works with Tess Thompson, research assistant professor, analyzing the outcomes for Black breast cancer patients and their informal caregivers; and is doing her practicum with Sarah Moreland-Russell, associate professor of practice, at the Prevention Research Center. Han is doing her capstone project with Moreland-Russell focusing on health policy and state-level tobacco control.   

Han credits the Brown School community with encouraging her to apply for the student rep role. Professor Jenine Harris, Han’s biostatistics instructor, forwarded her the email announcement. She also had conversations with Thompson, her mentor, as well as Joshua Walehwa, former Brown School assistant dean of student affairs.  

Regarding the student representative role, Han draws on her best judgment and lived experience to inform her opinions. She always thinks about the “big picture.”    

“If the trustees commit to this decision, what does that look like in five, 10, even 50 years from now for WashU,” she said. While she’s only attended one meeting so far, she said “it’s already been really rewarding and eye-opening.” 

When Han’s not studying, attending meetings, and working as a research assistant, she likes to travel — she hasn’t been in St. Louis for more than three weeks since moving here for school — and doing needlepoint, a hobby she picked up in the past few years.  

“It’s a good way to not think about anything,” Han laughingly said. “It’s a very good mindfulness and focused activity. I’ve never been the kind of person to just want to sit still, so I like to be doing something else as well.”   

To see more of Han’s needlepoint creations, visit her Instagram account karinstitches.