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CHER is an interdisciplinary center. We love the range of experiences and expertise in our team. Some team members focus on community outreach. Others support grant writing. In Abacus, we have a fantastic team of evaluators who do everything from survey creation to deep dives into data analytics. That’s a lot of worlds working together.

Our newest team member, student Ania Wellere, is looking forward to working across those worlds. She’s also got other worlds in view: a practicum and an artistic side!

Get to know Ania in this Q&A.

Tell us about your role at CHER. What’s your position and focus?

I’m a student assistant with CHER through Abacus.

Shelly Maras is my supervisor and I’m working with Abacus on RADx-UP, focusing on COVID-19 and communities access to COVID-19 testing. I’ll be working on impact profiles and the literature review they’re doing for some of the surveys they’re evaluating.

I’ll also be helping where I can with any other projects, but primarily working with RADx-UP.

What was your path to CHER?

It’s a very funny story!

I’m an MPH student at Gillings, and as a part of our program we have to complete a practicum. One day, I was trying to figure out practicum stuff and decided to randomly posted my situation on LinkedIn, saying I was looking for practicum opportunities.

One of my bosses reposted it and Tara Carr followed up with me about it. She wanted to schedule a meeting to talk about my interest. With my master’s concentration being health equity, it was kind of like “why wouldn’t I talk with her?”

After talking to Tara, it sounded like an amazing opportunity. But, it isn’t my practicum!

I wanted some type of field experience; I’m doing a hybrid model practicum with an organization in London and CHER is another job with other experience I want, especially in program evaluation.

So, still getting the best of both worlds!

What are your goals while at CHER?

I’m still in the predicament of figuring out what life will be like post-grad school, but I want to be in the healthcare space.

My goals while here are building my technical skills. I’m realizing that I want to go into healthcare consulting in some way. Being here, you can be exposed to so much and I feel like CHER is putting me in the right position to enter the field.

I also want to build my network and connect with people in this space. Hopefully I’ll be making long-lasting connections as well.

What are some challenges you’ve faced in your field of work?

I can get very passionate about certain health issues impacting communities. I try to share information in a way that’s digestible to everyone, but I’m definitely interested in reading more. I’m always trying to navigate how to communicate public health or research in general to communities I’m working with.

Just knowing how to talk to all different kinds of people is something that I’m thinking could be very challenging.

Wanting to go into consulting, that can range from leaders at companies to small, local nonprofits to physicians – all these people have different personalities! Being able to know when it’s a good time to speak up or how can I frame a message to get people to want to act on it, is a consistent challenge on my mind since I started my MPH program.

At CHER, it’ll be interesting to understand how I can make these impact profiles compact, 1-2 pages, to explain everything. That will definitely be a challenge too that I’m kind of excited about, because I know a lot of times, I tend to overexplain. I struggle with that. Having to cut back is a challenge!

What’s a fun fact about you?

I secretly like to paint. Although surprising to a lot of my peers, I enjoy painting and I just like the arts in general!