Q&A with Merissa!
Our NAU Public Health Intern
We are thrilled to welcome Merissa to CSCAZ in Flagstaff! She is a senior in Public Health graduating in early August. Learn a little about her from this interview.
What did you think was going to be interesting about interning with CSCAZ?
I thought it was going to be interesting learning about how a nonprofit organization works. I was interested to see how programs were created and how they impact the lives of the participants. I was also interested in how CSCAZ has and will incorporate more youth and teens programs within the organization.
Do you have a personal connection to cancer you can share?
My great grandfather passed away from malignant melanoma. He was one of those true cattle driving cowboys that ran away from home when he was 12. He was such a tough, hardworking, country singin’ man. He didn’t know he had cancer until it was too late. My grandpa would use his pocketknife to cut the tumor sores off his foot. By the time we all found out he was doing this, the cancer had spread up his leg and into his hip. I remember his home smelt of rotting flesh from his leg. It was terrible seeing my grandpa in so much pain that not even his opioids could help. Once he was nearer to death, he became happier and delusional which felt like a blessing at the time. Through this experience, I have found the value in love and support to manage the grief of losing a loved one from cancer. No one should have to deal with cancer alone.
What makes the field of public health so exciting to you?
Public health is amazing to me because I love the idea of promoting and protecting the health of the public which is the main idea of this line of work. I want to improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities by using prevention tools/methods and creating interventions or programs. I love the Maternal, Child, and Sexual health part of public health since it brings me much joy to learn about it.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love to draw, color, sing, read, binge watch shows, go camping and spend as much time with friends and family as I can.
What makes you laugh hard?
What makes me laugh…my life. Hahaha just kidding! That was a good joke. But for reals, one of the things that makes me laugh really hard are my sisters. They are funny, crazy kids. Just thinking about them makes me smile. Another thing that makes me laugh are children. They are intelligent little beings that bring me so much joy with their comments and silly actions.