Skip to content

Featured Master’s Student



Pragya Gautam PoudelPragya Gautam Poudel

Community Health Education with minor in Statistics


Pokhara, Nepal

Previous Education

  • Master of Science (MSc) in Human Anatomy (Medical): April, 2012-  May, 2014
    Kathmandu University, Nepal
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Biology: August 2007- December, 2011
    Kathmandu University, Nepal

Accomplishments Since Joining the Program

Provided administrative support to conduct graduate seminar (PUBH 509) under the guidance of Dr. Paul Campbell Erwin and Dr. Kathleen C. Brown – August, 2015- May, 2016

Teaching Assistant- Biostatistics (under Dr. Samantha F. Ehrlich)- Summer 2016

Current Occupation

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) in the Department of Public Health, UTK.

Personal interests

I love to keep music loud and dance whenever I get off work or have free time. I enjoy traveling to new places, learning new languages, and cultures. I live in Knoxville with my loving, supporting, and caring husband. Every weekend I find some time to talk to my parents who are living in Nepal. Since I am an older child to my parents, I often play a key role when it comes to family decision making. Apart from this, I am a connoisseur of good food and love to visit different restaurants. I am a big fan of Thai food.

Future or Vocational Goals

I have always dreamed of helping mothers and babies! I want to provide better health care to mothers and babies who are suffering due to disasters, especially in developing nations. In the future, I would like to implement my knowledge of public health practically and turn my dream into reality.

What sold you on this program/department/university?

I was born and brought up in Nepal where I witnessed women suffering from several health issues and children dying at an early age from several treatable illnesses. Poverty, illiteracy, and natural disasters occurring every year are some of the common causes of people suffering there. This motivated me to go to the field of public health.

When my husband started his PhD at UTK, I got an opportunity to come to the United States. I came to Knoxville on May, 2014 and I couldn’t stop myself falling in love with this beautiful place. I wanted to continue my studies, but I had no idea where to start since the culture and place was new to me. Memories are still fresh! The first Google search I made was “Public Health, University of Tennessee, Knoxville”. I was passionate to continue my study in the field of Public Health with the goal to serve people. With this passion and enthusiasm, I applied to the Department of Public Health, UTK.

What would you tell an incoming student who joins the program/department?

After joining the Department of Public Health, UTK, I have learned public health in more detail. Every class I took at UTK has broadened my horizon in the field of public health. The department ambience is so comforting and ‘the Professors’ are so friendly and helpful which is contrasting to what I experienced previously. If you become lost in your courses, talk to the professors. Trust me, they will listen to your problem and guide you in a very commendable way. I have done this several times and it has WORKED!

Public health is very broad and is expanding everyday in response to the needs of communities and population around the world. The spread of disease is not simply related to biology, but it is largely related to social, economical, and political conditions. No one should die of a disease that can be treated. Every individual living in the community deserves to live a healthy life. We, public health people, live with the responsibilities to take actions and build a healthy community. Together, we can bring positive changes around the world.


Click here.

back to top


Max Taylor Max Taylor, HPM student

Health Policy and Management


Westmoreland, TN

Previous Education

Bachelor of Arts in both Spanish & Anthropology

Current Occupation

Administrative Coordinator, UT College of Nursing

Personal interests:

I serve as program manager at the Vine School Health Center, UT’s school-based, nurse-managed pediatric clinic. I regularly volunteer at many Knoxville News Sentinel events such as the Southern Appalachia regional spelling bee and Free Flu Shot Saturday. My hobbies include weightlifting, meditation, reading, cooking, and traveling with my wife Nicole.

Future or Vocational Goals:

After graduation I hope to work in emergency preparedness, disaster response, or program evaluation.

What sold you on this program/department/university?

I was initially interested in Public Health as a result of my work with the Vine School Health Center. As a UT employee, the fact that so many classes were offered in the evening was very attractive as well. I also had several wonderful discussions about the program with Dr. Charles Hamilton and program alumna Stephanie Welch that convinced me the program was right for me.

What would you tell an incoming student who joins the program/department?

As Professor Emeritus Charles Hamilton told me, an MPH is like an MBA with a heart. You need to believe, deep down, that everyone deserves the chance to live a healthy life and the opportunity to make healthy choices, and you need to believe that YOU can do something positive to help.

back to top


img_toddfrench (2)

M. Todd French, DVM, MAJ, VC

Veterinary Public Health

Todd French is an MPH student in the veterinary public health concentration. He is also an active duty veterinarian and major in the US Army Veterinary Corps. His path to the University of Tennessee was long, winding, and unconventional. After a few years at a neighboring SEC institution in Georgia, Todd enlisted in the army as a veterinary assistant. Five years later, he relied on the army’s gracious offer to finance his education in order to earn a BS in animal science (2004) and a doctorate in veterinary medicine (2008) from North Carolina State University. That signaled a return to Raleigh, Todd’s city of birth, and enrollment in an institution from which his parents received five degrees.

Upon graduation from veterinary school, Todd entered the US Army Public Health Command. This afforded him opportunities as a clinical veterinary intern at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center in Texas, a stint as the base veterinarian for the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, and a job as chief of the Fort Campbell Veterinary Branch in Kentucky. Along with Major Kari Olson and Major John Crawford, Todd is focusing his MPH efforts on the human-animal bond and particularly how animal assistance programs can be built and promoted for wounded soldiers and veterans within the military. He currently assists with the Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT) program in the UT College of Veterinary Medicine. HABIT is graciously allowing him to spend the spring semester there as an intern. Among other things, this means that he occasionally gets to kiss French bulldogs.

Todd’s wife, Kristina, should be given credit for a lot of his success. The couple currently has no free time since the arrival of their son, Elliot, in April 2015. When they do have free time, they like falling asleep to Parks and Recreation reruns.

back to top


Jennifer Grahamimg_jennifergraham

Community Health Education

Jennifer Graham is a current student in the MPH program concentrating in community health education (CHE) and pursuing a minor in epidemiology. She is also pursuing a certificate in grant writing and proposal development through the Office of Research. Her interests are varied and include health communications, health promotion, emergency management and preparedness, and infectious disease control and prevention.

Jennifer is currently a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) in the Department of Public Health. As part of her GTA responsibilities, she is the editor for the MPH Memos and is the MPH alumni survey director. Additionally, she has collaborated with faculty members on grant proposals and a manuscript on data synthesis. For the last year, she has served as volunteer coordinator on the Healthy Transitions project, a volunteer group dedicated to helping refugees from Burundi adjust to living in Knoxville. She had the opportunity to attend the Tennessee Public Health Association’s Annual Education Conference in September 2012.

Jennifer enjoys spending her free time reading science fiction, eating international cuisine with friends, trying new recipes, and traveling as much as possible.

back to top


The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.