Nicole Laws

Tell us about your current job.
I currently work for Tenet Healthcare Corporation in the Florida region as the Public Relations Manager of Writing and Web.

What did you study as an undergraduate?
I am a dental hygienist by trade and I also studied recreational therapy as well.

How did you decide to get a degree in Health Communication?
When I was in dental hygiene school, I became more interested in public health. Dental hygiene is very prevention focused, but it is also very clinically focused. When we were learning about prevention and public health, my interest really peaked when I discovered how you can impact populations rather than single individuals sitting in the chair. I learned about the field of communication and realized that influencing the health of populations was really more what I was interested in.

Why did you choose Tufts?
Since I had a clinical background, I was drawn to Tufts because it has a science focus. The Tufts program included many elective opportunities, as well as the Applied Learning Experience (ALE), which I also liked. I felt it was a very practical program and hands on. The fact that it offered evening courses also factored into my decision, because it meant that I could complete the program while I was working

Did you move to Boston to attend Tufts?
Yes, I moved from Florida.

How feasible was your approach to the program?
I worked part-time as a dental hygienist while doing the Tufts program full-time. I worked during the day and took night classes. It was definitely doable.

What type of position did you take after graduation?
I actually got a job through my ALE. After graduation, I was hired part-time at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in the Office of Oral Health to continue working on a strategic communication intervention for pediatricians to address oral health disease in children with special health care needs. I also continued to work part-time as a dental hygienist.

How do you think your Tufts degree prepared you for working in the field?
My Tufts degree definitely got me to where I am today. Opportunities to work in the dental field are limited in the area where I currently live. My Tufts health communication degree allowed me to shift into the private sector in hospital communications. I would not have been able to pursue this opportunity without that experience.

The Tufts Master of Science in Health Communication (MS/HCOM) degree is very versatile and you can take it in a lot of directions. It is a very practical degree and with each course you come away with applied skills for working in this field.

Is there any additional information that you would like to share with prospective students?
I would encourage anyone who is thinking about health communication to go for it and explore the Tufts program. There is a lot of flexibility and opportunity to customize the degree and focus on your interests. It can be everything you make it!

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