Bouvé Student Spotlight: Meghna Iyer

Meghna Iyer, a 4th-year Health Sciences student in the PlusOne MPH Program

The programs at Bouvé are engineered to put our students ahead of their peers. The college’s faculty and staff know what it takes to succeed in competitive fields that are in demand of graduates. You can read the material put out by the school, but sometimes it’s best to hear it right from one of our students, like Meghna Iyer, a 4th-year Health Sciences student in the PlusOne MPH Program. 

Q: Meghna, why did you join Bouvé and the PlusOne Program? 

A: When I was a freshman coming into Northeastern, I knew I wanted to do something with health, and I was really interested in medicine… I started out thinking I was going to be a doctor one day; some type of doctor was all I knew. Then, as I started taking more public health classes, more health science classes, I realized that I wanted to combine that focus of the social aspects of health into my work as a physician. So, I thought doing an MPH would be perfect for me. 

Q: What opportunities have you had? How have they helped you?

A: When I was a freshman, I was very new to this world of public health and I didn’t really know what was out there and I wanted to learn more so, I remember taking an intro class and we had a speaker come in, Professor McGuire, and she talked about her life and everything that she’s done in public health, and it was fascinating so I reached out to her and asked if she could help me figure out some opportunities to get involved with.  

She listened to my interests and helped me narrow down a research institute on campus and that was the Institute for Health Equity in Social Justice Research, they have been so supportive to me throughout my career here at Northeastern. I started working with them and they taught me everything from the ground up; data analysis, how to collect data, how to conduct different types of interviews, and write papers. 

Then I went to my mentor with this idea for a project that’s really important to me to see if there was any way I could start it. 

The project is about injury prevention and motor vehicle crashes, specifically regarding guardrails and different infrastructure… my friend was actually in a car accident so that was my inspiration behind starting it.  

I applied for a grant through Northeastern and that was also really great because it’s gotten funding through the university Office of Research and Fellowships here… And we are looking for a journal to submit to. 

I never would have had such a great learning experience and been able to start my own endeavor if it hadn’t been for Bouvé. 

Q: Can you talk about a standout experience you’ve had at Bouvé?

A: One of my favorite things about Bouvé has been a lot of the professors, both in the PlusOne program and in the undergraduate program, there’s a lot of opportunities for doing hands-on work in the field and getting to learn that way. 

I remember taking Community and Public Health, which was one of my most influential classes as a sophomore, and my professor said if we wanted to join her, we were more than welcome to during the homeless census count. This was right before COVID and we basically were out in the streets of Boston on a team that she led from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. trying to get a census of the homeless population around Northeastern and figure out what kind of resources they needed. We had a checklist that we were filling out for the city of Boston so that they could add these resources to whatever they offer for those populations.  

Being able to be a part of experiences like that and being able to learn from them was so important to me and helped me grow a lot. 

I don’t think I would have gotten to know about those types of opportunities and be a part of them if it hadn’t been for the classes I was taking, and the professors I had that were so passionate about what they were doing. 

Q: What co-ops did you participate in?

A: I have had two co-ops and I really enjoyed both.  

The first one I was working at Dana Farber Cancer Institute through the CaNCURE program, which is a program that Northeastern set up through the National Institute of Health. I started working with them a year ago and I’m still interning there, and the really nice part is I’ve been able to branch some of my research out from my initial studies into something kind of public health-related looking at different radiation studies so that’s been a really exciting experience again combining medicine and public health there. 

The other one I’ve had was working at MGH where I was doing COVID-19 research, basically looking into how people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and serious mental illnesses were being impacted by COVID in group homes and congregate care settings in Massachusetts and trying to figure out tailored best practices and interventions to keep this population safer during the pandemic and beyond. 

If you’re interested in a path like Meghna’s, learn more about Bouvé’s PlusOne Accelerated Master’s Program here. 

To find out more about the many programs offered at the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, visit our website.