Xinyu (Jocelyn) Zhu is a second-year MPH student in the Nutrition department at Gillings School of Global Public Health.
1. Tell us a little more about what you’re studying at the moment and/or what your research focuses on.
I am currently studying nutrition policy and public health nutrition interventions that target chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. My future research will probably focus on designing and implementing effective and cost-effective nutrition interventions to help address issues like food insecurity and health disparities.
2. What are your general career interests or professional goals after graduate school?
My current career interest is to develop, implement and coordinate the nutrition component of public health care programs and provide consultative, educational and technical services in the field of nutrition. I also love teaching so another career goal of mine is to become a professor at a university teaching public health nutrition that focuses on the promotion of good health through nutrition and the primary prevention of nutrition-related illness in the population.
3. How has participating in the Graduate School’s professional development programs and offerings benefited your professional development? Is there a particular program or resource that has helped you the most or that you found to be especially valuable?
As I mentioned above, I love teaching and want to become a professor in the near future, so I decided to join the Preparing International Teaching Assistants Program (PITAP). I’ve taken GRAD 810 and am currently taking GRAD 811. These two courses really helped me to develop teaching skills, build cross-cultural communication skills, and deal with some of the common class situations. In addition, the Writing Center at UNC is also helpful in terms of writing assistance.
4. Are there other steps you are taking now as a graduate student to prepare yourself for the job market/your industry?
I am currently subscribed to the Graduate School Professional Development (GSPD) emails since they send out information regarding job opportunities, funding resources, communication development, and many other things on a regular basis.
5. What is something you wish you had known about professional development in your first year of graduate school?
I wish I had known that how many various professional development opportunities there were at UNC. I really appreciate all the resources GSPD has (eg. PITAP, CIRTL, IDP, etc.).
6. Do you have any professional development or career planning advice to offer your fellow graduate students?
I would really encourage students to subscribe to and read all the emails sent from the GSPD. There are many great resources! If you are an international student who loves teaching and want to be a professor, I would also highly recommend registering GRAD 810 and GRAD 811 since you will gain lots of understanding on how to engage your students and perform better in teaching, and you will have tons of opportunities to apply what you’ve learned to the real-world classroom settings (i.e. several micro-teaching demonstrations).