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How to study abroad in 2022: Application Guide for Students

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How to study abroad in 2022: Application Guide for Students

Studying abroad is truly a great experience that brings benefits to any student: the cultural exchange, language practice and the ability to see the world are just some of them. Young Caribbean students are no exception to this rule, as they also often seek ways to get a degree abroad and are welcome in any universities worldwide, especially in America.

It is always handy to know that the university application process differs from country to country, and there is no perfect formula for gaining admission to your desired university. However, there are some general rules to follow and tips that can help you gain admission.

How to study abroad in 2022: Application Guide for Students

1. Choose your program

Decide where you want to study abroad and what level and area of study you’re interested in, and have the academic background to qualify. You can also think about the career you would like to build and then decide on a specialization. Pick a program that aligns with your goals and a highly ranked university with a strong reputation in your desired subject or meets your other essential criteria.

2. Pay attention to the requirements and deadlines

The first step in applying to a school abroad is to check the requirements. For some of them, you just need to have the required pack of documents, while the others tend to look for a motivated student and a diligent term paper writer in addition to it. If the information on the website is confusing or insufficient, ask for more information by email. You can also visit the official government and study council websites to learn more about basic requirements. It is important to pay attention to deadlines to make sure you do not miss any admission or entrance exam deadlines.

3. Write a motivation letter

Applying to certain fields of study or schools requires a letter of motivation. It should show your ability to perform well at the institution and include an assessment of your skills and achievements. Express your interest in studying at the university in a clean and structured motivation letter, and remember to show your best language skills when writing it.

4. Ask for a letter of recommendation

Admission to a university or program sometimes requires one or more letters of recommendation from a teacher. Don’t be shy to ask for it from teachers you have had a good relationship with. Remember that letters of recommendation take time for instructors to write, and they may be already asked for letters from several students before you. Ask your teachers as early as possible to make sure they have time to write a detailed and convincing recommendation.

5. Translate and authenticate your documents

If you are applying to study a program in a different language, you will need to translate your documents (including your diploma and qualifications) into it. Please note that a competent authority must authenticate translations before you send them. If you’re unsure which authorities your prospective university accepts, check its website or ask an admissions officer.

6. Use online application platforms

Nowadays, more schools tend to use online application platforms to make it easier for students to apply for programs. Most schools and students prefer to send documents electronically rather than by post, as it is faster and usually less costly or free of charge.

7. Register for the entrance exam

Some countries and certain schools, such as medical ones, have entrance exams that test your knowledge of natural sciences and skills related to language or mathematics. Check the date and location of the exam, as it is usually held one or two months before the opening day. You will need to register for the test in advance and plan your trip abroad to take it physically if necessary. Also, do not forget to prepare yourself for the test as hard as possible and try taking a look at a sample test if there is one in free access.

8. Do your best at the admissions interview

The last stage of the application process may be an admissions interview. Some schools and certain elite programs conduct interviews to determine which candidates are most qualified to enter the school. The interview usually starts with why you want to study at this school or program, your background, and plans for the future. Practice for the interview, be confident, and don’t let the formal atmosphere stress you out. Stay calm and don’t speak too fast or too slow.

9. Schedule your visa appointment

To be eligible for a student visa, your school and program must be accredited by the government of the country where you are located. In most cases, the time to apply for a student visa comes just after receiving a letter of acceptance and being admitted to the school. The length and complication of this process will depend on the number of applicants and your country’s regulations. Therefore, it is best to apply for your student visa and schedule your interview as early as possible. The documents you will need for the student visa application are usually the application form and application and tuition fee receipt, a bank statement, your passport, and medical and background information.

10. Plan your expenses

You’ll need to consider that applying to schools or universities abroad will have costs related to the school entrance exam, translation of documents, language test booking, tuition fees, and visa application fees. Don’t let this put you off, as many students study internationally on a limited budget, but make a plan for your likely costs so you can budget accordingly.

 

How to study abroad in 2022: Application Guide for Students

School Boards Are No Match for America’s Political Dysfunction

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School Boards Are No Match for America’s Political Dysfunction

It should have been an unremarkable community gathering. At first, it looked as though it might be. On October 25, a cold wind whipped against the cars filing into the East Middle School parking lot in Grand Blanc, Michigan, for a school-board meeting. The audience piled into the six-feet-apart, gray folding chairs in the cafetorium. A group of unmasked community members slid their chairs closer together; a few women stepped to the side to pray.

The meeting began with a single bang of a gavel. The board and its constituents stood in unison to pledge their allegiance to the flag before observing a customary moment of silence. Then things deviated from the standard script.

“The board of education is gathered here tonight to conduct school business,” the president of the board, Susan Kish, said, reading aloud from a prepared statement. “Please keep the board’s need to conduct school business in mind as you observe our meeting tonight.” If the audience could not abide by the board’s rules, she said, the room would be cleared for a recess. If there were additional interruptions, the meeting would be adjourned.

School-board meetings do not have a reputation for excitement. But since the early days of the pandemic, school boards have become the center of some of the most explosive fights in American life—over book bans, mask and vaccine requirements, and how and whether the history of racism is taught. The cost of these fights is immense: The basic functioning of one of the workhorses of the American system—an institution whose thankless and typically invisible work powers the country’s schools—is impossible when it is swept up in the nation’s divisive politics.

Grand Blanc’s experience has been no different. Though nothing particularly divisive was on this agenda, recent meetings had featured verbal disputes between board members and jeers from the audience, as well as raucous public-comment periods when masking policies, “critical race theory,” and vaccines were discussed, and when audience members trained their ire on others in the crowd as much as on elected officials. The acrimony had spilled out beyond the board meetings as well. One woman in Grand Blanc was arrested in August for threatening the county’s health director, who had issued a mask mandate for students in kindergarten through the sixth grade.

Most of the October meeting’s agenda was standard fare for a school board. The principal of Indian Hill Elementary brought a video to show how students had played with engineering manipulatives that a teacher had purchased with money from a grant she’d received. The board honored two students who had been named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, and it listened to a report on a recent budget audit before its members lobbed questions at the presenters. The 62 people in the audience—40 masked, 22 unmasked—mostly sat patiently and watched. But as the meeting wore on, some of the unmasked attendees became noticeably annoyed. This was not why they were here.

One man turned to the group, shaking his head. “They’re fucking filibustering,” he said. He and other parents wanted to talk about mask mandates. They wanted to talk about vaccines—some even wanted to talk about the infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci. The normal board business prevented that. The work of running the schools, to this man’s mind, was the filibuster.

Amy Facchinello
Grand Blanc school board member Amy Facchinello at a meeting in August 2021. (Jake May / The Flint Journal / AP)

Many of those who had grown agitated felt that one person on the board understood their plight: Amy Facchinello.

Ahead of the 2020 school-board election, Facchinello wanted to shift the body’s balance of power to the right. Though she served as the vice chair of the Genesee County Republican Party, Facchinello had a typical résumé for a school-board candidate: She’d earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, spent decades teaching in both public and private schools, and had children in the district. But, as she told the local newspaper, the Grand Blanc View, she had become “concerned” with the way the schools were being run. “Our students deserve an education where they are taught how to think and not what to think,” she said in a candidate interview. “As a board member, my goal is to be a conservative voice and to protect the rights of teachers, parents, and students from government overreach.”

Facchinello’s campaign was largely focused on national, cultural issues and what she saw as disturbing trends in education. “We have many third-party actors trying to push their agenda on our students,” she told the Grand Blanc View, pointing to The New York Times’ “1619 Project” as an example. “In an age where what was once right is now wrong and what was wrong is now right, I want to make sure that the staff are being supported and commended for doing what is right for our students,” she continued. “One thing that we overlook is that our parents/taxpayers are our boss. Educators work for you.”

Four candidates ultimately ran for the two available seats on the board—the two incumbents, James Avery Jr. and Jay Hoffman, as well as Facchinello and 18-year-old Joe Johnson. The winners would serve a six-year term. When all the ballots were counted, it was clear that Facchinello’s message had resonated with a significant contingent of the community; she received 10,070 votes, or 26 percent of the total, the second-highest tally behind Avery. Hoffman, the other incumbent, finished third, with 8,769 votes.

But less than two weeks after the election, Lucas Hartwell, then a senior at Grand Blanc High School, found Facchinello’s Twitter account—full of QAnon-related posts. There was a photo she had posted of a flaming Q with we the people are pissed off written inside it, and a tweet about the coronavirus being a hoax. There was a video she had shared claiming that George Floyd’s murder was a “deep state psyop” for a “New World Order” and another claiming that the baseless, far-right conspiracy theory had been confirmed by then-President Donald Trump. Hartwell’s tweets about what he’d found received some traction. Soon, media organizations across the country were covering Grand Blanc.

“Is QAnon Radicalizing Your School Board?” one headline read. Another asked whether conspiratorial candidates could be stopped. For her part, Facchinello, who declined numerous requests to speak for this story, has denied that she has anything to do with QAnon or conspiracy theories. “I’m a victim of cancel culture,” she claimed last May. “I think they’re using the QAnon narrative to cancel conservatives … If you question their narrative, they label you a QAnon conspiracy theorist.”

Facchinello has avoided posting such things since joining Grand Blanc’s school board, and her Twitter account no longer exists, but she has divided the board in other ways. One fellow board member criticized Facchinello for a Facebook comment “ridiculing” a new parent in the district who had asked a question about masking. In another post, Facchinello suggested that the board should have a priest come with holy water to bless its meeting against “Demonic powers and Principalities” in its midst—those powers and principalities being, ostensibly, her colleagues. In January, Michigan’s attorney general, Dana Nessel, turned over to federal prosecutors the details of a year-long investigation into Michigan Republicans who had submitted documents falsely identifying themselves as the state’s 2020 presidential electors and declared that Trump had won the state. (Joe Biden won Michigan by more than 150,000 votes.) To date, no formal charges have been filed, but Amy Facchinello was one of the 16 false GOP electors.

An hour and 15 minutes into the October meeting, the public-comment period began. Though not all districts are required to allot special time for this section of the meeting, most do as part of their obligations to their constituents. How do political leaders know what their communities are thinking if they don’t listen to them? Kish reiterated the rules: Comments were to be directed at the board, not the audience; there was a time limit; all comments were to be about the work of schools. But few abided by those rules.

The first commenter stood to support mask and vaccine mandates; the second argued that Fauci was the leading proponent of a conspiracy to experiment on children—experimentation that the board was facilitating; others stood to attack critical race theory, a topic on their minds because of a photo circulating on social media of a whiteboard activity in a Grand Blanc classroom that supposedly revealed a teacher’s bias against white people and Trump supporters. The superintendent had debunked the misleadingly cropped photo earlier in the meeting after an extensive investigation into the matter. Another parent, Sandra Jobin, suggested that ingesting ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine would be better for her child than receiving the vaccine or wearing a mask.

As Kish adjourned the gathering, Jobin, who had come from neighboring Burton with her daughter, told me that creeping authoritarianism had brought her to the meeting and would keep bringing her to board meetings. “I feel that tyranny is happening, and not enough people are waking up,” she said. “If the vaccine works, how come you guys are signing up for three, four, or five boosters? Where do you stop? Where is your line drawn as to how far this tyranny happens?”

The room emptied out. The teacher who doubled as the A/V coordinator stacked chairs and wrapped cords. Two students were standing to the side. They hadn’t offered public comments; perhaps the most important voices in the room that night hadn’t spoken.

I approached one of them, Isaiah Grays, a sophomore at Grand Blanc High School who serves as a student representative to the school board and attends its workshops for ironing out thorny agenda details—which he finds to be the more productive exercise. I asked him what he thought of the evening. “The regular meeting, I thought, was very productive, just like the workshops that they do,” he said. “As for the public comments, it was really partisan. I don’t really like a lot of partisan stuff, because this is supposed to be a nonpartisan school board … We don’t go around the hallways saying that we’re conservative or liberal—we come here to learn.”

Rachel Gaydos, a senior at the school, agreed. “I thought it was really disappointing when it got to the public-comment section of the meeting,” she said. “I’ve experienced, firsthand, parents taking things completely out of context and pushing their own views onto children.” To her, the masks weren’t a big deal—“just a new article of clothing that you’re putting on.”

If you listened only to the public comments, you might believe that Grand Blanc schools were dystopian, authoritarian dumps. But both Gaydos and Grays lauded their education in the district; they just wished the loudest voices in the room would listen.

A woman holding up a sign with "Down with Indoctrination" and a woman yelling.
Jake May / The Flint Journal / AP

Many Grand Blanc parents have been deeply alarmed by Facchinello’s tenure. “My issue with her isn’t even necessarily QAnon,” Michelle Ryder, a parent of three students in the district, told me. “I mean, it’s disturbing, and I would definitely have some questions, but my issue with her is the division and the chaos that she brings.” A day before the October board meeting, Ryder and a group of other parents met at a restaurant in town to sort through what they could do about Facchinello. Perhaps the board could censure her? That might only enrage her supporters, they reasoned. Maybe they could organize a recall? But they quickly realized that a recall was not a realistic option; the process couldn’t begin until January—and even then, Facchinello had not yet done anything as a member of the board that would warrant one.

Other school-board members seemed to worry about Facchinello as well. In August, several suggested that she had violated the board’s code of ethics. “This past January, all of the board members here signed a code of ethics,” Meredith Anderson, who joined the board in 2017, said 10 minutes into the board meeting on August 23. “It reads, in part: As members of the Grand Blanc Community Schools district board of education, we realize that to be the most effective advocates for children, we as a board must function as a team and at all times treat each other and the people we serve with the utmost courtesy, dignity, respect, and professionalism.” Members had all signed on to keep confidential conversations confidential; to avoid using their position on the board for partisan gain; and to disagree without being disagreeable. Violating the code had no formal consequences, Anderson conceded, but she did question “why anyone would sign it if they had no intention of following it.”

Immediately after Anderson’s remarks, Facchinello had her turn to offer comments. “This isn’t a dog-and-pony show,” she quipped. “We’re not sitting up here having a dog-and-pony show, trying to show the public how great we get along. That’s not why they elected us.” She then turned her attention to mask mandates, arguing that the Genesee County Health Department’s recommendation that students be masked was unconstitutional. Holding up a pocket-size Constitution before propping it back up on the table in front of her, Facchinello lambasted mask mandates, to nodding approval from a contingent of supporters. She believed that the board could be sued if it continued its policy. “I want Mrs. Carr”—the recording secretary—“to put it down in her notes, in our board minutes, that are a legal document, that I do not consent to this, because I am not going to get tied up in any lawsuit that might be brought against this board,” she said. “And if it makes it look like I’m not playing nice in the sand—well then, so be it.”

The chair, Kish, banged her gavel three times as several members of the audience applauded. “Thank you!” one shouted. “Boo!” said another. Kish sought to rein her meeting back in. “We will have order,” she said, as the applause continued. “We will have order!”

In the months since, such boisterous back-and-forths between board members have been less frequent. Facchinello has settled into her role as one of the many, allowing the work of the board to continue, and—save for her advocacy of mask-mandate removal and her maskless appearances at meetings, even during moments of high COVID caseloads—has largely been in step with her colleagues. Her limited influence in regard to some of the other concerns she ran on, such as how history is taught, betrays the reality that one board member cannot easily change a system.

Facchinello is right in one way: Elected officials do not have a responsibility to agree with one another, but to serve their constituents. School boards have a vital democratic purpose, though, and they need to be able to function. They decide budgets, approve curricula, and hire school officials. School boards are micro-local, too—a part of the democratic system to which people have easy access.

School boards, at their core, are composed of people who have chosen to be public servants, many of whom still hold down full-time jobs. Though the role can be a launchpad to other political opportunities—former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first elected position was a seat on a school board—it is the sole political ambition for some. But with the increasing hostilities of the job, many school-board members have seen resignation or retirement as their only way forward. In Wisconsin, a board member resigned after receiving threats and seeing a car idling outside his house while his children were home; in Tennessee, members were called child abusers and harassed for supporting mask mandates. “My most recent time on the board has impacted who I am as a person and my inability to have peace and joy in my life,” one school-board member in Indiana wrote in a resignation letter last year. “If the past two years have taught me anything, it is that life is precious and that time is short.”

This spate of departures will leave seats open, seats for which only the loudest voices in the room might be willing to run. Who else would want to?

In November, voters in Grand Blanc will go to the polls to decide the future of four seats on their school board—a slate of openings that worries Ryder and other parents. Facchinello can do little as a board member on her own, but what would the school board look like if she were no longer in the minority?

On February 28, the cafetorium at East Middle School was once again brimming with community members. It had been 10 days since the district had eliminated its mask mandate in schools and on buses—along with close-contact quarantine requirements—as COVID caseloads declined. Kish opened the meeting with their new routine: the Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silence, and an audience warning about misbehavior.

The board carried out its standard business: A middle-school student presented her winning paper from the Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest sponsored by local colleges; the board listened to a presentation about social-emotional learning and heard a budget report. During board-member comments, Facchinello congratulated a departing football coach and wished the girls’ varsity cheer squad well as it headed to the state tournament.

“Just to listen to tonight’s meeting thus far: Here we are talking about field trips again; here we are giving shoutouts to students again on accomplishments they have achieved,” Curtis Jablonski, a board member, said. “I’m not sure what normal is or what normal will be, but it sure feels like it’s a step in the right direction.” The board had also welcomed a new member—Avery had recently resigned after being appointed to the county board of commissioners—and gave him his committee assignments. The meeting, to that point, was what school-board meetings are supposed to be.

An hour and 37 minutes after the meeting began, though, it was time for public comments. Kish took a deep breath before reading a statement. “We know that everyone has their opinions, and we are asking you to please respect each other,” she said. The board was composed of seven people who made decisions as a board but who also had First Amendment rights as individuals, she added. Fifteen people had submitted requests to make comments, and Kish anticipated that at least some of them would be directed at Facchinello and the investigation into the slate of electors.

Ryder spoke first. “Now, unfortunately, I have to talk about some disturbing news that has come to light about one of our board members,” she said. A friend had sent her an article about the electors. “In this article was a copy of the signature page, which I have provided to each of you. I will refer you to the last signature in the first column. You will also find a picture of this board member’s Facebook bio, where they proudly—”

“Point of order,” Facchinello said into a microphone.

Kish paused Ryder’s time and reminded her that she could not use the public-comment period to address board members about what they’d done as individuals—it needed to be about board business. After the warning, she restarted the clock. Fifteen seconds of silence passed as Ryder collected her thoughts.

“There doesn’t seem to be a place to address this, and I think that it’s important for the parents and the public and the community to have some sort of answers,” she said. “This isn’t a light allegation … We’re talking about a criminal investigation.” Then Facchinello called for another point of order, Kish issued another reprimand, and Ryder demanded Facchinello’s resignation before the rest of her time was nullified. (Neither the board president nor the board attorney responded to requests for comment for this article.)

Two other audience members stood to give similar remarks, and both were told to address board business.

Sasha Keller, who had spoken about Fauci at the meeting in October and is a fierce masking critic, stood to speak. “I’m glad that we’re moving on past” masks, she said. “But keep in mind, I’m not going to forget. And I’m not going to go away—I’m not going to forget what’s been done to my child for political gain.”

The masks have already begun to go away, but what Keller articulated is something that political scientists who have studied schools have been worried about since the pandemic began.

The nature of school politics has always been emotional, Joseph Viteritti, a political scientist at the City University of New York’s Hunter College who studies education policy, told me. “Because it involves their kids … [parents] think they’re fighting for their lives.” But after the past two years, researchers worry that the temperature around this vital institution has been raised irreversibly. They worry that, even as districts sunset mask mandates and vaccines become standard, the battles at school-board meetings will rage on. And they worry that too few reasonable people will want to devote themselves to ever getting things back on course.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2022/04/parents-partisan-school-board-meeting-covid/629669/

Online learning should be here to stay

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Online learning should be here to stay

The past two years have been an intense learning experience. Every part of our day-to-day lives changed drastically overnight, and while online school was not the simplest transition to make, it is now heavily ingrained in student culture.

As we start to transition back into today’s version of normalcy, online learning should remain an option for students. Online classes offer both students and teachers more flexibility, greater appreciation for and understanding of technology and create positive classroom dynamics.

Online learning affords us the opportunity to take classes from anywhere and after two years of isolation, the ability to travel while keeping up with your schoolwork has never been easier. It is important to take advantage of time spent enjoying new adventures and thanks to online classes, students can do so while remaining connected.

“Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth of thought, as well as the ability to make deep connections,” said Adam Galinsky, a Columbia Business School professor who has authored several studies investigating the connection between travel and creativity.

With the option available, it is important to expand our life experiences while remaining connected to the classroom.

Admittedly, online courses are not a perfect setting for every class. It is a less than perfect style of teaching for things like science labs, theater performances and pottery lessons. However, English lectures, math classes and other prerequisites have found ways to keep students engaged with the use of technology.

The classroom in 2022 is much more tech savvy than it was back in 2020. Tenured professors have adapted (whether they wanted to or not) to using Zoom, Google Drive and video lectures to teach the new generation of college students. We have all come to have a richer understanding of the technology used today.

This phenomenon has been studied by researchers at the University of Nebraska. They found that “most participants, 89%, reported that use of digital technologies advanced their knowledge in the online learning environment. They referenced technology as learning tools that helped them to engage, participate and contribute to knowledge creation in the online discussion forums”.

Online learning platforms and tools have become part of our new normal and our ability to navigate modern technology have only increased and has only helped us to become more adaptable and knowledgeable students.

Technology is incorporated into most aspects of daily life for the majority of college students. Our generation values the anonymity the internet provides us, as it acts as a shield so we can be our most honest selves. Online classes have opened a new space that traditional classrooms never could provide — the ability to participate without drawing attention to oneself.

Not everyone is confident enough to strut into class and speak up when professors ask questions. The online forum provides all the comforts of tweeting with the added bonus of it counting as class participation! A study completed at the University of Sydney Australia concluded “the use of anonymity provides students with a sense of protection to enable them to take a bolder step, allowing for a higher level of participation and production in peer interaction.” For the online trolls living inside of each of us, online classes can be the key to contributing our authentic thoughts to group discussions.

Online instruction really is proving to be the new frontier. While the past two years have brought about trends that definitely should disappear (tie dye, nature’s cereal, diy haircuts), a platform that allows students and teachers to enjoy travel while working, teaches new technological skills and helps shy students to open up does not deserve to be on that list.

Julianna Sondon is a freshman from Miami, Florida, majoring in journalism with an art minor.

Online learning should be here to stay

Online versus in-person master’s in public health programs: Here are the similarities and differences

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Online versus in-person master’s in public health programs: Here are the similarities and differences

BY Sydney LakeApril 26, 2022, 1:41 PM

A pedestrian passes by on the University of Minnesota campus, as seen in April 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly expanded the ways in which we consume information—and a 2021 study indicates that students are more receptive to learning online. Last spring, education company Cengage released its Digital Learning Pulse Survey results, which showed that 73% of respondents would like to take fully online courses in the future.

Like many other degree programs, students looking to earn their master’s degree in public health (MPH) increasingly have the option to do so online. If you’re debating whether to earn your MPH online or in-person, there are several considerations to make—but ultimately the programs have more similarities than differences. 

“In fact, a fair number of our on-campus, more traditional students take the online version of a course if, say, they’ve got an internship down at the capitol or are working part-time and can’t make it back to campus for the campus version,” says Dr. Rebecca Wurtz, director of the University of Minnesota’s Public Health Administration and Policy (PHAP) program. “It’s a cross-fertilization—the relationships that form between the distance, or remote students, and the more traditional students.”

For candidates who are deciding whether to apply to in-person or online MPH programs, Fortune spoke with leaders at two schools that offer both options. The following are factors they say you should consider when making your decision. 

How the curriculum and classroom experience compare

At the University of North Carolina, both online and in-person MPH students take the exact same curriculum—but material is delivered using different teaching methodologies. The online program uses a “flipped classroom model,” Catherine Gihlstorf, associate director of the online MPH@UNC program, tells Fortune. 

“During the week, students have access and will work on asynchronous materials—recorded videos, group work, readings, other asynchronous assignments,” she says. “And then once a week, they’ll come together for a live session class.”

UNC also limits the size of its online courses to 16 students, whereas the in-person classes don’t have that small cap size. One major difference is concentrations. Students who attend the program in-person have more concentrations to select from—13 versus just four for online students. 

Admissions standards are identical but student profiles differ

At both the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, admissions standards for the online and in-person MPH programs are exactly the same, officials confirm.

“The admissions standards between online and residential are identical—the same high-quality standards and competitive standards for residential apply to our online program,” Gihlstorf says of UNC. 

That said, student backgrounds do vary between online and in-person programs. UNC’s online program allows students to complete the degree at their own pace. About 90% of online students work on the degree part-time. On the other hand, the residential program is a set two-year program. 

“If you’re looking at the demographics between the two formats, you’ll see that the online students skew a little older,” Gihlstorf adds. UNC’s online students typically come from one of four backgrounds: working in public health, but don’t have the MPH credential; working in health care, but want to have the public health perspective; using an MPH as preparation for medical school; and looking to make a career change.

UMN sees similar candidate backgrounds, but also has applicants who have just graduated from college and just started working, or were looking to minimize the cost of their degree by doing it online. Tuition is the same for both the in-person and online programs, and costs $1,034 per credit.

“People with a public health degree don’t make a heck of a lot of money compared to people, say, in engineering or medicine, and so it’s ideal if the cost of the degree is proportional to that earnings potential,” Wurtz says. “The cost efficacy of an online degree, I think, is higher than the traditional on-campus degree.”

How the MPH format affects career preparation

While an MPH degree can be completed online, Wurtz emphasizes that it’s still just as rigorous and challenging as an in-person program, therefore “not an automatic pilot degree.” 

Online students still have to make an effort to build their professional network, participate in classes, and meet other students and faculty. In a traditional in-person MPH program, you learn a lot about the public health in both the location of your school and your “applied experience”—think: internship, Wurtz says. 

“An important part of a quality online program is making sure that the people delivering the program are working with the student to help them optimize their opportunities in their own community,” she says. It’s important to be “able to identify applied practice experiences, [and help] the students connect with resources in their community.”

See how the schools you’re considering landed in Fortune’s rankings of the best master’s in public health programs, business analytics programs, data science programs, and part-time, executive, full-time, and online MBA programs.

https://fortune.com/education/business/articles/2022/04/26/online-versus-in-person-masters-in-public-health-programs-here-are-the-similarities-and-differences/

Ruxolitinib After HCT May Avert Serious GVHD

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Ruxolitinib After HCT May Avert Serious GVHD

Serious graft-versus-host disease may be prevented with the use of ruxolitinib after hematopoietic cell transplantation.

Multiple phase 2 studies evaluated the use of ruxolitinib (Jakafi) after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) and was found to potentially prevent serious graft-versus-host disease, according to a presentation from the 2022 Tandem Meeting.1

Although recent advances have informed novel and effective approaches to combat GVHD, prevention warrants further investigation, as well as potential for JAK inhibition to prevent GVHD since it has not been well investigated.

These phase 2 studies evaluated ruxolitinib activity in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML; NCT03286530) and patients with myelofibrosis (MF; NCT03427866). At the time of analysis, the median follow-up among survivors is 18 months (range, 7-43). Between both patient populations, grade 2 acute GVHD appeared in 24% of patients (95%CI, 14%-36%) at 6 months, and no cases of grade 3 or 4 acute GVHD were observed. Chronic GVHD was observed in 21% of patients (95%CI, 11%-33%) with 3.8% (95%CI, 0.7%-12%) requiring systemic therapy.

The AML study included 33 patients who were diagnosed with AML, were between 60 and 80 years old, and had a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched donor. Patients began ruxolitinib therapy 30 to 90 days post HCT and continued up to 24 cycles of 28 days continuously. The median start date for this patient population was day 47 (range, 32-93). The median number of cycles of ruxolitinib therapy received after HCT was 19 (range, 1-24). Twenty-six of the 33 are now in treatment. The primary endpoint was 1-year GVHD/relapse-free survival rate. Secondary endpoints for this study were progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and time to relapse.2

The MF study included 21 patients who had an HLA-matched or mismatched donor. Ruxolitinib therapy started on day -14 and continued for up to 13 cycles of 28 days continuously after HCT. The median number of ruxolitinib treatment cycles post-HCT was 12 (range, 2-13). The primary endpoint was GVHD-free and relapse-free survival at 1 year. The secondary endpoints were PFS, OS, cumulative incidence of acute GVHD and chronic GVHD, and toxicity rate.3

For both studies at 18 months, the non-relapse mortality rate was 8% (95%CI, 2.5%-18%). The relapse rate was 24% (95%CI, 13%-37%), the OS was 79% (95%CI, 64%-88%), and the GVHD-free relapse-free survival was 67% (95%CI, 52%-78%).

The median age of patients was 67 years (range, 46-79. Investigators noted that 42 patients (78%) had HLA-matched unrelated donors, 11 (20%) had an HLA-matched sibling, and 1 (2%) had an HLA-mismatched unrelated donor. All patients observed had peripheral blood stem cell source, and all patients had reduced intensity conditioning.

The most common treatment-related grade 3 or higher adverse events observed so far are anemia in 10 patients, neutropenia in 5 patients, and thrombocytopenia in 5 patients.

Longer follow-up of these 2 trials will provide additional information on potential GVHD prevention, including JAK inhibition in the GVHD setting.

Reference

1. DeFilipp, Z. Prolonged post-transplant ruxolitinib therapy is associated with protection from severe gvhd after Allogeneic HCT. Poster presented at the 2022 Tandem Meetings: Transplantation & Cellular Therapies Meetings; April 23-26, 2022; Salt Lake City, UT. Accessed April 24, 2022. https://tandem.confex.com/tandem/2022/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/19588

2. Ruxolitinib + allogeneic stem cell transplantation in AML. ClinicalTrials.gov. Updated September 7, 2020. Accessed April 25, 2022. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/record/NCT03286530

3. Ruxolitinib pre-, during- and post-HSCT for patients with primary or secondary myelofibrosis. ClinicalTrials.gov. Updated September 7, 2020. Accessed April 25, 2022. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/record/NCT03427866

https://www.cancernetwork.com/view/ruxolitinib-after-hct-may-avert-serious-gvhd

CrossFit Teens, Homeschooling and Isolation: “Every minute was spent on training or homework”

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CrossFit Teens, Homeschooling and Isolation: “Every minute was spent on training or homework”

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The CrossFit teen population is growing, both in numbers and popularity, as more and more of them, as well as teen division alumni make waves in the individual ranks each year. There’s also a growing pressure for young athletes to sacrifice a great deal for a spot on the CrossFit Games floor. 

The problem? 

CrossFit teens are putting all their eggs in the CrossFit basket, and the motivation to sacrifice prom and football games and pizza for extra hours in the gym can wear off when you’re left with rowing intervals and four hours of homework on a Tuesday night. 

Emma Cary

That’s exactly what 2021 CrossFit Games 16th place finisher Emma Cary experienced for almost all of high school. Throughout most of her young life, Cary has dreamt of becoming a pediatrician alongside being an elite CrossFit athlete. That has meant taking an extremely heavy course load in high school in addition to the blood, sweat and tears it takes to be the Games champion at 15-years-old in the teen division and an elite athlete at 16-years-old. 

Looking back on it now after graduating high school, Cary recognizes the hardships of her school experience. 

It was 6 am to after midnight multiple days a week. It wasn’t something that occasionally happened, it was common. I didn’t feel good, and I wasn’t seeing the progress I wanted,” Cary said. It was an extremely strenuous situation for the teenager, going so far as to affect her recovery and sleep. 

“Every minute was spent training or doing homework. Even while I would eat, I would do homework. There was just no time to relax, sometimes no time to even stretch or recover my body. It was like, I can sleep or I can stretch, and right now I need to sleep. It was tough.”

“Nothing could make me feel like (CrossFit) does…I found that I might have to sacrifice other dreams for that and that’s okay.” 

Emma Cary

While looking forward to her senior year, which she had blocked out with her schedule as a more “fun” year to soak in the high school experience, Cary decided in the summer of 2021 to complete the year online. Although it was a hard choice, setting aside her dream of becoming a doctor for now, Cary knew that in order to go all in on training for the CrossFit Games this was a necessary decision. 

“Nothing could make me feel like (CrossFit) does, that’s just a whole new level of passion, that’s what I truly love to do. I found that I might have to sacrifice other dreams for that and that’s okay.” 

Cary finished her senior year a semester early while doing online school, which she says was extremely beneficial for her training schedule and lifestyle. It was the first time she felt independent from school, she said, and it gave her freedom to control her time as she saw fit. 

In addition, as she saw improvements on her CrossFit game, Cary learned the valuable lesson that having too much on your plate can make the quality of your output decrease, but when she put her energy into one specific focus, she could be her very best. 

“Sometimes you do think about what you have lost, just how many ‘teen things’ you’ve missed out on.” 

Emma Cary

However, Cary admits that online school takes all the “fun” parts out of school and leaves only the functional parts. Part of this was enjoyable for the self-proclaimed introvert because she didn’t feel pressure to be overly social and could instead just keep the bonds she had with close friends. 

On the other hand, though, the isolation was admittedly tough for Cary. 

“I finished my last assignment and it was like I just submitted it, I think it was just some random Sunday afternoon, and it was like ‘wow, I’m done with high school.’ Since nobody was there, it was just not what I had imagined, and that was kind of a lonely feeling,” Cary said. “Sometimes you just think about what you have lost, just how many ‘teen things’ you’ve missed out on.” 

Cary maintains that despite those typical teen experiences she’s missed out on, she’s happy with the decisions she’s made, claiming that it was because of those hard decisions to skip fun events that she’s able to compete and take part in the experiences she truly cares about.

Photo Credit: Instagram @erincostaphoto

“I’ve walked away (from competitions) with so many lessons, so much love for competing, but all those competition feelings fade, and that’s inevitable. But what stays strong is the relationships, and that’s such a cool thing,” Cary said, adding that the friendships she’s made with other CrossFit teens through competitions and social media are especially strong. 

“Being around teens at competitions makes me think that if everybody was as supportive as the CrossFit teens, the world would be a better place. It’s amazing to be a part of that.”

While Cary has gone fully in on CrossFit, with all the sacrifice, hard work, and sometimes loneliness that can go into it, other teens hold onto the values of the sport while maintaining a more traditional schedule. 

Delia Moises

Delia Moises, a 2021 CrossFit Games athlete who finished 16th in the 14-15 Girls division, has trained at home in her basement for the majority of her career–mostly because until earlier this year, she couldn’t drive. This meant long hours alone doing tough workouts all by herself, sometimes upwards of eight hours a day during the summer. 

However, when she started training seriously at the age of 13, it didn’t strike her as a problem. 

“I don’t think I was lonely because I had never known anything different,” Moises said. “I think it was just because I had never known any different, so it wasn’t like ‘I have to go do this long workout by myself, that’s so lame’ it was like ‘I get to choose my own music that’s so cool!’”

While Moises is still training to be a competitive CrossFit athlete, she’s also making moves to pave the way for her future career–in February, Moises applied to Arizona State University’s online program, which she will participate in next year in addition to her regular high school courses. While the workload will be extremely heavy, Moises is ready for the hard work it’ll take and attributes her drive for being busy and engaged to CrossFit. 

“I can still be a functional member of society. Working out is not all there is.”

Delia Moises

“You know how Pat Vellner was like, ‘I don’t need to spend more time watching Netflix and sitting on my butt during recovery, I can be productive and learn and do stuff,’ so I feel like I don’t want to get into the habit of just being like ‘I just eat, sleep and workout,’” Moises said. 

Even at just 16-years-old, she recognizes the dangers of sequestering herself only to the CrossFit corner. “I can still be a functional member of society. Working out is not all there is.”

In a similar vein, Moises is wary of disconnecting herself from “real life” friends as well. While she says she’s met some of her best friends ever from competitions, even if they only see each other occasionally and mainly talk online, she says having that be her only source of connection just wouldn’t work. As Moises puts it, elite CrossFit isn’t the norm for most of the world, and it can create unattainable standards. 

“When I watch (CrossFit videos) online, I was like, ‘oh I workout, I’ll spend all day in the gym! I just gotta grind,’ but that’s not reality. There’s a lot more that goes into it than just ‘I’m gonna be happy and workout at the gym all day,’ you definitely need to be around other people that are like, ‘yeah I’m not motivated all the time.’”

Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
Simon Wilke

Simon Wilke, a senior at Three Rivers High School, a few miles down the road from The Pit Fitness Ranch, just recently got into CrossFit after a lifetime of school sports. Wilke has quickly found a solid group of friends his own age with similar goals at Triple River CrossFit, and even qualified for the North American Quarterfinals in March after doing CrossFit for less than a year. 

Wilke comes from a different background than most CrossFit teens, who basically start doing burpees straight out of the womb, but says it’s because of his time playing soccer and baseball through his school that he was able to excel so quickly. 

“(You learn) that if you don’t know how to do something, just keep working at it. As a younger person, I remember not being good at something and I’d just go home and practice more and more and put time into it,” Wilke said. “It doesn’t just happen right away, and that’s how it was with (starting CrossFit) too.”

Being so suddenly and completely immersed in the teen CrossFit world, going to the most heavily invested gym in the teen competition world with competitions like the Elite Teen Throwdown and other teen-specific events, Wilke has already been exposed to the different lifestyles of elite athletes. 

And while he recognizes the values of elite athletes being homeschooled to focus on training and athletic development, Wilke is content with his school experience. 

“I think in (in-person school), you learn what to keep to yourself, what to (share), how to act professional, how to not get in trouble, you learn a lot. Definitely social skills,” Wilke said. “(If you’re homeschooled) you don’t get to learn to talk to a teacher, how to ask questions. You can ask your parents questions, but they’re your parents, that’s easy.”

The Bottom Line

If in-person connections are so clearly important to teen athletes, like Cary, Moises, and Wilke all stated, why do so many teens opt for an untraditional educational experience?

Simply put, it’s what it takes to make the Games as a teen. Especially with CrossFit constantly going back and forth with teen division qualifications, young athletes are fighting hard for a spot on the competition floor that might be swept right out from under them. Long gone are the days when the CrossFit Kids WOD three times a week could produce a 14-year-old with their name on a Games jersey. 

Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi

Both Cary and Moises placed 16th in their respective divisions, and while the 14-15 division is considered a “junior varsity” competition, both girls trained for hours upon hours before school, after school, and non-stop during the summer to solidify their spots amongst the fittest on Earth. 

With just one year separating the two, both Cary and Moises would, in more normal circumstances, be regular, full-time high school students, but have instead chosen a different path. And for the most part, they seem very satisfied with those choices, being the 16th fittest on Earth, but they’re still missing out on those “regular” teenager experiences. 

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CrossFit Teens, Homeschooling and Isolation: “Every minute was spent on training or homework”