Student Spotlight

Meg Schurr

Meaghan Schurr

Hometown: Kings Park, New York 

Degree Program: MPH, admitted through SUNY Downstate-SUNY Old Westbury partnership

Class Year: SUNY Old Westbury - 2015; SUNY Downstate - 2022

Undergraduate Major: Health & Society  

Professional Interests: Epidemiology; sexual and reproductive health research, policy, and advocacy; and mental health research and advocacy.  

Extracurricular Activities/Involvement: SUNY Downstate Students for Choice  

Click here for Meg Schurr's LinkedIn profile


1. What drew you to the MPH program at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University?  

The diversity of the student body, faculty, and the program’s strong commitment and ties to the communities we work with and serve. I loved and appreciated the diversity of the student body at SUNY Old Westbury, especially in the Public Health department, and it was a key factor in my decision to attend Downstate. The smaller class sizes was a very important factor as well, along with the waiver of the GRE requirement!  

2. What is your favorite aspect of the program?  

I was only a student at Downstate for about 2 months before COVID struck and we went fully remote, but my professors and my advisor have worked really hard to pivot to fully remote instruction and advising, and it really shows. My instructors have been accommodating, flexible, and resourceful during this strange time, and I have an awesome advisor who shares and encourages my research interests and questions.  

3. Can you recall a memorable in-class or general SUNY Downstate experience that struck you as particularly meaningful?  

The support of fellow students as we’ve moved to fully remote learning- it was a big transition, but everyone has been really understanding and supportive of one another inside and outside of class. Whether it’s supportive and encouraging posts on discussion boards, or little jokes and reassurances during synchronous classes when you mention that you’ve fallen a little behind, it has made all the difference--everyone collectively understands that life during a pandemic is new and challenging, and we’ve all come together. The diverse and interesting backgrounds and careers of all of my peers is incredibly interesting and adds to our experience and education--you’ll be in class with a lot of medical students, current physicians, public health professionals, and folks switching fields, so there is a lot of perspective in class discussions and forums.  

4. What are your goals? 

I currently work in research administration at the Guttmacher Institute, a leader in sexual and reproductive health research and policy analysis, and hope to build on my career there with the skills, perspectives, and knowledge I gain from Downstate’s MPH program. I am particularly interested in the intersection of mental health and reproductive health--how mental health affects reproductive health and reproductive decisions and vice versa.


5. Do you have plans to further your education or do you have a career in mind upon graduation?  

I have started to think through the idea of pursuing a DrPH, but I’m taking it day by day in this new COVID era, and I know my professors and advisors will guide me towards the right decision and will support me as I move towards graduation and my next steps.   

6. Do you have any advice for your fellow students who might be interested in this program?  

If you have enjoyed and appreciated your time at SUNY Old Westbury, you will love SUNY Downstate and all it has to offer. The class sizes and faculty attention are comparable to SUNY Old Westbury, and you will be surrounded by peers from all different backgrounds and walks of life, which adds perspectives and knowledge that you will not experience in other programs. The school and faculty are committed to working with, serving, and lifting up the communities surrounding our campus and hospital, and the emphasis on the social determinants of health is both interesting and imperative. I would encourage all of my fellow current or graduated Panthers to check out SUNY Downstate’s MPH program!