Coordinator of the Month: Miranda Rowe | December 2019
Name: Miranda Rowe
Hometown: New York, NY
College Attended / Graduating Class / Major: New York University/ Class of 2019/ Gender and Religion
HealthCorps School Placement / City / State: The Lehman Educational Campus/ Bronx, NY
Fun Fact: I was on Cash Cab!
Question #1: Why did you choose HealthCorps?
I taught comprehensive health education for three years while in college and knew that I wanted to transition into teaching full time when I graduated. HealthCorps provided the perfect opportunity for me to do so. Working full time on a school campus as a program coordinator seemed to be a great match for my post-college energy – and, after three months, I can honestly say that it is. The variety of responsibilities that I am tasked with means that each day is an opportunity to learn new skills that I can transfer across the public health field.
Question #2: What role do you play in your school(s) beyond “HealthCorps Coordinator”?
The title “HealthCorps Coordinator” is so inclusive that my students and fellow staff members could not succinctly define it. To them, I am the health teacher, the cooking club supervisor, the cafeteria demonstrator, the staff wellness organizer, the infused water provider, the grant writer, and so on. Ultimately, I am the person to turn to with a health-related question or idea. My office is strategically placed near the teacher’s lounge, so I certainly get a lot of these!
Question #3: What have you learned during your placement so far? What has surprised you most?
These past three months have been a whirlwind. From balancing five different administrations to managing classes of over 30 students, every day presents a new challenge, and a new accomplishment. Needless to say, I have learned quite a bit. One of the most surprising bits of information I have gleaned is the adaptability of school food. In New York City, there are 29 different school food menus offered. These menus are revised every year according to official student taste tests done at the Office of Food and Nutrition Services. Hopefully some of my students will attend one of these formal school food taste tests in the spring – stay tuned!
Question #4: What advice would you give to teachers, parents, communities, etc. who are looking to create more programming focused on healthy living for their students?
I would emphasize the importance of listening to the community’s needs. If people are given an opportunity to speak their mind, to vent about what is not working, it is surprisingly easy to channel that energy into concrete change. Having conversations with students, staff members, and administrators about the current state of health has been the biggest catalyst for change at the Lehman Campus. When we are all on the same page, we can accomplish huge goals in mere days.
Question #5: What advice do you have for future Coordinators or anyone looking to join health-related fields?
My advice to future coordinators is two-pronged: take it slow and don’t be afraid to jump in. Although these tips may seem to contradict, they actually complement one another. The start of the school year is an overwhelming time, especially in the face of the variety of programming that coordinators are responsible for. It’s important to take this introductory period at your own pace, making sure to pencil in time for self-care and reflection. On the other hand, the programming will not start on its own. It’s better to get the ball rolling early – the knowledge, confidence, and support will come in time. Ultimately, with so much room for creativity, this role is really what you make of it. So go for it!
Question #6: What do you plan to pursue after your placement, and how is your time with HealthCorps helping you achieve that goal?
I fully believe in HealthCorps’ coordinator model, which posits that health knowledge is best taught from a near-peer vantage point. In this vein, I feel that my usefulness in the classroom is limited and plan to move towards an administrative role in the field of health education after HealthCorps. I intend to pursue a Master of Public Health degree within the next few years so that I may make the transition from teaching to program planning seamlessly. Of course, I need teaching experience to lay the foundation for my next steps. HealthCorps is a great jumping off point to accomplish my goals!