Hello there! I'm Lillian Jensen, and I am a current Master of Public Health candidate at Michigan State University, focusing on Epidemiology and Informatics. Currently, I am interning with the Kent County Health Department Communicable Disease Division. My work, which has been supported by the Region V Public Health Training Center, has spearheaded a data modernization project that will ultimately make surveillance data dissemination more efficient.

A highlight of my academic journey was when I had the opportunity to travel to Boston on a scholarship to present my Epidemiology Methods course research at the 2022 APHA Annual Meeting & Expo. I used data science and analytics techniques to investigate the relationship between climate change and increasing incidence of Lyme disease in Michigan over a 20-year period. It was an incredible experience that further honed my research, data analytics, communication, and presentation skills in the field of Public Health.

My lived experiences equip me with the skills to connect with people from all walks of life. My identity as a queer, neurodiverse human – paired with my passion for Health Equity – allow me to understand the struggles that come with navigating systems that weren’t designed for me. This perspective was further shaped during a career break in which I provided eldercare and medical advocacy for my late grandmother. More recently, I sharpened my advocacy skills by successfully running for the Student Representative role in the MSU Department of Public Health Executive Committee.

Moreover, I am well-versed in graphic design and visual communication. These skills that were put to the test when I took over as managing editor for the MPH Student Newsletter while facing tight publication deadlines. I learned the ins and outs of the software used to publish the newsletter, and I collaborated with article authors to ensure timely publication. This exposure to a high-pressure environment bolsters my ability to perform under pressure. Further, my skills in drawing actionable insight from data led to changes in newsletter design that align with accessibility standards and needs.

I am continuously learning and improving. I have two professional certificates in data analytics and data science, from Google and IBM respectively. Before starting my post-graduate studies, I received my Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from MSU. I attained extensive expertise in biomedical laboratory sciences while researching enteric pathogens in BSL-2 laboratories, under the skilled mentorship of Dr. Robert Britton and Dr. Jennifer Auchtung. These experiences fuel my interest in outbreak investigations and infectious disease epidemiology.

I take pride in being actively engaged in my community, promoting health and well-being whenever I can. In my undergraduate years, I co-created a community health harm reduction initiative called DangerZone. Our aim was to provide education, substance testing, and crisis support for community members using drugs. Nowadays, I work to improve access to healthcare resources in my community. On top of that, I also volunteer as an APHA Conference Abstract Reviewer, and offer my web design skills to a local charity.