Some students follow unusual paths to public health; Andrew Schneider is one of them. After studying history as an undergraduate he spent four years in the US Army, on active duty in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division’s Field Artillary. After his return he took prerequisite science courses before starting a masters program in geology at the University of Cincinnati where he studied hydrology.
As his research progressed, Andrew realized that when you work with water, you invariably encounter issues of health and politics. His desire to bring the human aspect into his work with water led him to the Yale School of Public Health. Now a second year student in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases and Global Health Concentration, Andrew has worked closely with Professor Albert Ko on the environmental controls on the bacteria that cause leptospirosis. As a Downs Fellow last summer, he monitored soil and sewage in Salvador, Brazil to better understand the conditions under which bacteria thrive and how long they survive in various conditions.
In addition to spending countless hours in the lab, Andrew has participated in the Yale Global Health and Justice Partnership and has served as a member of one of the University’s Institutional Review Boards. He especially values the opportunity to meet and work with faculty from the health and medical professions, and to hear the level of discourse, see how studies are designed and what questions people are interested in pursuing through their research. The experience has been eye opening says Andrew, who will begin medical school next fall. “I want to combine the clinical skill set with epidemiology and physical science,” he says. While Andrew admits that they can’t be combined all the time, his hydrology work has already shown him boundaries become very fuzzy in real life.