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Yameen Saima

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What was your Undergrad Institution and Major?

I completed my Bachelor’s in Political Science and Global & International Relations, with a minor in English and Arabic, at Loyola University Chicago.

What piqued your interest to study health communication?

Recent world events showed me the importance of the healthcare field. The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the disparities within our society, and I wanted to gain this education as a means of assisting in proper communication and creating a more equitable healthcare system.

Why is earning your MS at Northwestern important to you?

It is important for me to pursue a higher education, because I want others like me to understand that a woman of color has a place in academia, regardless of what society has conditioned us to believe. I want to see more women of color in predominantly white institutions so that we can reclaim a narrative that needs to be told by us.

What are your career goals?

My career goals are to help bridge the gap in healthcare and work with companies that align with my core values, which includes equality, proper representation, and a platform for all to be heard.

Any tips on balancing school, work, and life?

The best tip I can give is to always make time for your family, because this is your strongest support system. When you have a strong support system, you can conquer anything. It is easy to forget about the importance of our loved ones when we get busy, but if you truly care about something, you will make time for it. So, find a healthy balance between school and work and don’t forget the ones who helped you get there!

What resources have you used in virtual learning?

A good resource for virtual learning is TA office hours and a checklist!  I would highly recommend visiting the TA office hours often, because this really gives you a more relatable perspective. Also, when you are not constantly present in a classroom setting or having a teacher remind you of deadlines in person, it is easy to forget what and when something is due. So, stay as organized as possible by maintaining a checklist. It also feels really satisfying seeing you cross things off!

What is your favorite part of the program so far?

My favorite part of the program is being able to apply what I am currently learning to current events. Learning about health communication gives me the ability to make logical sense of the world, without the negative influence of propaganda or fake news. With this knowledge, I am able to critically think for myself.

Is there any additional advice or information that you would like to share?

This is a very fast-paced program! However, I suggest that instead of over-stressing the small stuff, focus on the process and always think back to what you are trying to accomplish. It’s always nice to be reminded of your purpose and how you are a part of something bigger.

How do you practice self-care while in the program?

I think that studying academia, we, as students, often forget that we can make mistakes and move on. Instead of beating myself up over small mistakes or roadblocks, I try to maintain a self-affirming attitude that helps me learn from my mishaps.

How has health communication changed for you since starting the program?

I began the program in the middle of a global pandemic, so there really is no better time to learn the language that is health communication. Things have changed very drastically for the world, as a whole, and with this program I am able to take part in making our healthcare system better for all, not just some. Health communication has come to take many forms, from digital to in-person, and I cannot wait to continue to take part in this program to gain a better understanding of human relations/interaction and healthcare!