Got my first job! Tackling health disparities

This story was published in FIU News by Yenisleidy Simon Mengana.

Name: Yandra Mariano

Hometown: Miami, FL

Degree/Major: Psychology and interdisciplinary studies from FIU’s Honors CollegeGraduated with the Global Learning Medallion.

Where are you working? Title? The Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work as a research coordinator for To Reach Unrestricted Services for Transgender women (TRUST)

How did you get your job? A friend of mine who is a graduate student recommended that I apply for the job! I applied through the FIU careers website.

What was your greatest fear going into your first job, and how did you face it or overcome it? Since this job was the first time that I would be working full time without being a student, I worried that I would become sluggish or not have time for other things. I have managed to adopt the same organization skills I acquired during undergrad to tackle this fear. Using a planner, I made sure I set aside time to exercise, hang out with my friends and catch up on reading. This helped me keep track of my goals and keep myself busy outside of work.

What surprised you the most about your first job? I wasn’t expecting to work outside of the office but because of the nature of the job, I conduct interviews at different FIU locations and community organizations around Miami and Broward.

What advice do you have for those beginning the job search process? Be patient and know your worth. Before I found this job, I was desperately looking for employment and was even willing to take a position that wasn’t right for me. If I would have accepted a job that wasn’t the one I had, I would not be getting the hands on experience I need for the next stage in my professional career.

What does a day on the job look like? I get to the office at 9 a.m., check emails, have a meeting with my boss about projects and then tackle whatever task I have for the day. Some of the things I do include, conducting interviews with participants, visiting study sites and networking with community partners, recruitment and administration of the TRUST study.

How does your job connect back to your coursework? This time next year, I will be well into my first year of graduate studies in public health. As a research coordinator for one of the research investigations being conducted under the public health school, I will acquire the necessary experience and knowledge before starting my Master of Public Health. I will most likely be taking on the same role while completing my masters degree, and then I will go on to pursue a Ph.D. in public health. Since my job now is research focused and the Ph.D. process is research focused, I have become familiar with the environment, rigor, and ethic I need to be successful in my field.

How was your transition from school to work? How do you balance your time? Thankfully as an undergraduate, I worked a part time job and that allowed me to begin balancing school and work. I was hired during my final semester of undergrad and had to balance classes, graduate school applications and working at FIU part time. After graduation, this job became a full time commitment. What helped my transition and balance of time the most was setting an early bed time and early wake up time. The transition from student employee to FIU staff felt smoother because my work load significantly decreased as I only focused on my research coordinator duties.

What’s been the coolest thing about your job so far? Being able to meet all kinds of amazing people in the community and in the greater public health network. Seeing empowered black women engaging in STEM research is something extremely valuable to me as a minority. I get to work with my role models to eliminate disparities in health!

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