• Amy Thompson

    Director of Wellness

    1. What is a typical day for you as director of wellness? If you don't really have a typical day then can you describe some of the things you might do throughout the course of a week?

    I work full-time at a university where I am a professor of public health and direct a cancer survivorship center. One of the things I love about my job is the variability in what I do. I may teach a class, conduct some research, mentor students, and direct a cancer survivor program. I also spend a lot of time out in the community helping train my student in the field. It is very rewarding. I float through many different settings such as non-profits, cancer center, and even free clinics.

    2. How did you get to your current position? Can you speak about your prior education and experiences that were stepping stones?

    My current position has been built on over 18 years of experience. I have a bachelor’s degree in community health and a masters’s degree and PhD in public health. I was fortunate enough to have a graduate assistantship that paid for both of these degrees and allowed me to teach. During the last 2 years of my doctoral study I also worked as a lobbyist. This was a very enjoyable job and it really turned me on to healthy policy.

    Once my dissertation was complete I decided it was time to get my first academic job, so I started as an assistant professor position. About 5 years later my alma mater then recruited me to cofme back to direct their doctoral program. While there, I was promoted to full professor and recently started The Center for Health and Successful Living. This new center focuses on cancer survivorship and provides education, screenings, and patients services for free.

    3. What is the most satisfying part of your job as a professor?

    I feel as though being a teacher to the next generation of health educators is a gift. It is so wonderful  to help launch new professionals into the field or see them grasp a concept for the first time. This is particularly interesting when the learning is occurring in the community setting. In many ways, I think being a professor is like being a coach. I help students set goals and give them feedback and encouragement. I also give them a gentle reminder when they may be slacking off or getting away from their chosen academic path. Another aspect that I love about my job is that every day is different and I have lots of autonomy in my job.

    4. What advice would you give our students who wanted to pursue a similar career path/goal?

    First of all, get as much experience as you can in many different areas. As a student, take advantage of internships, volunteer experiences, and job shadowing. I also recommend that you join a professional association and begin networking. Our profession is very small and networking is really how most people get their jobs. Lastly, go to as many of the conferences or workshops as you can in the area that you are interested in.

    Back to Day in the Life

  • The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University. 

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