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Public Health students gain real-world experience assisting vaccine distribution

March 24, 2021

Binal Amin is taking what she’s learned in the classroom and applying it in real-world situations to make a difference in the community.

Binal Amin helps check attendees’ temperatures upon arrival at the Kane County vaccine clinic.

Amin is one of more than 30 public health students who have volunteered to assist at the COVID-19 mass vaccinations clinics hosted by the Kane County Health Department.

“I was fortunate to have had an opportunity to volunteer at the Kane County vaccination clinic,” said Amin, who is from West Chicago. “Being part of this experience helped me realize the impact the (public health) field can make in a larger sense.”

Amin and fellow NIU students and faculty assisted with client check-in, took temperatures and monitored people after they received the vaccination.

Amin said she’s pursing a degree in public health so she can make a difference in the community, and seeing public health in action confirmed she’s in the right spot.

“Being part of the mass vaccination clinic really solidified the decision to go into public health,” Amin said. “Helping to prevent people from getting sick and encouraging them to lead a healthier life is exactly why I am passionate about public health.”

Beth Squires, NIU public health program coordinator, said taking part in the COVID-19 vaccination clinics is important for many reasons.

Beth Squires, NIU public health program coordinator.

“I wanted our students see public health in action,” Squires said. “It’s a great opportunity for students to interact with the public and learn skills that will help them in the future.”

Squires said service learning is a requirement of the public health program, and it’s also an opportunity for students to meet public health professionals in the field and to develop their public health network.

Amin agreed.

“I would encourage everyone who has an opportunity to volunteer to take advantage of it,” Amin said. “I met an epidemiologist from Kane County and had an amazing chat with her. I learned so much and got great advice for possible mentorships and professional growth.”

Learn more about public health at NIU.