A picture of Leenisha Leenisha Marks

Leenisha graduated in 2013 with an MPH (Masters in Public Health) International Development

Before coming to the University of Sheffield, I studied at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, United States. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child & Family Studies, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology. I worked on campus at my previous university in the Residential Life Department as a Resident Advisor, Hall Monitor and Hall Coordinator during my time there. My job consisted of planning programs for residents, sitting on duty twice a week and creating a fun yet safe living environment for my residents.

I chose the University of Sheffield for their Masters program because it is unique from any other program that I have seen before. I also had a particular interest in learning about development and public health, so the program was perfect. My program allows me to learn about the basics of public health while also learning about international development issues worldwide. I also came to the University of Sheffield because it is one of the top university’s in England and it is a diverse place. I wanted to meet people from different places and study in a new environment, all of which Sheffield has provided.

The thing that I have found most enjoyable about studying my subject here at the University of Sheffield is my course mates and professor’s willingness to help. In my department, Geography, we have formed a close bond and have gotten to know each other fairly well. The professors are always willing to assist in any way they can and my fellow course mates and I have all become good friends. We can get together and study or just hang out but there’s always a good time in store.

The most valuable aspect of my course would definitely have to be the range of modules and skills that I will be gaining from the course. I have one module that focuses solely on developing professional skills in an international development context, which will help me be more employable. There are also modules that offer self-guided learning structures, where you can gather the basic information about a subject but then go on to explore each topic in further detail if you want. I think this approach helps the student take control of your own learning and will be useful in a job setting.

The teaching methods are quite different from those in the States, even though most are lecture style. As a master’s student, it is your responsibility to take control of your learning, which is different from the educational structure in the States as an undergraduate student. Studying methods have also been different, as my assessments have been structured as essays. There wasn’t really anything to study per se but intensive reading and a critical analysis of academic articles have been an integral part of my program.

I think some of the benefits from an education at the University of Sheffield include the skill set that each program can provide you with, the networking that you can do with alumni from the University, the various range of extra-curricular volunteer opportunities and organizations that you can join, as well as the different research projects that you can get involved. I have gotten involved in different organizations on campus, such as the Sheffield Institute for International Development committee, helping to set up a student volunteering section on campus. I have also been able to attend workshops and conferences, helping to develop my skill set and gather important skills for my field such as writing a funding proposal and learning to give a briefing on academic articles.

I believe the best thing about the University of Sheffield is the diversity here. Every day I am sure I encounter people from over 10 different countries in the world and that type of community is hard to find in some places. I also like the wide range of activities that the University offers. Since there are so many different people from so many different places, there are a wide range of activities and programs offered here that caters to people with various different needs and wants. I have been able to do a beginners French course and travel around England through the ‘Give-it-a Go’ scheme, while also being able to embrace someone else’s culture through the communal living.

After I complete my course, I hope to become a public health specialist in an international non-governmental organization focusing on health concerns.

For prospective students coming to Sheffield, I would say come with an open mind and a willingness to explore and get involved. Even though Sheffield is not that big, there is plenty to do. I think Sheffield has its own little treasures and getting bored here is not possible unless you’re not willing to get out there and see what you can find. Sheffield is a beautiful city, come and enjoy it.