Member Spotlight - June 2016

An article from the June issue of the NHPHA e-Newsletter

Meet Sophia Japhet.  Sophia is a grant writer at Families In Transition in Manchester as well as a student at UNH with one year left to finish her Master's in Public Health   More recently, she joined the NHPHA Board Sophia Japhetof Directors, taking on the role of Treasurer.

Sophia's journey in public health began at Arcadia University, where she majored in Healthcare Administration and was exposed to numerous public health electives (epidemiology, global public health, etc.).  "I became hooked", she said, even picking up a Global Public Health minor and taking an opportunity to study abroad at Stellenbosch University in South Africa as well as visit the Mothers2Mothers HIV clinic.  After graduating, she joined the Americorps program in New Hampshire at Families in Transition (FIT) where she assisted in multiple resource development, fund raising and grant writing initiatives in addressing homelessness.  Shortly after transitioning into her new role, she was accepted into the Masters of Public Health Program at UNH.

Working at a local non-profit organization is what Sophia likes most about the work that she does.  "I have the opportunity to directly make a difference in the community I also call my home."   She feels it is extremely rewarding to be part of an organization on the front lines of addressing homelessness in our state. " I think the same is true with the Public Health field in general – our initiatives and our interventions directly engage and impact community members."

New projects are always developing at FIT.  As a grant writer, Sophia helps to raise money for many of the different new initiatives FIT takes on.  "One of the projects I am most excited about is our Hollows Community Garden and Learning Center."  The Hollows Community Garden and Learning Center is a half acre community garden, park and learning center being developed in the Hollows neighborhood of Manchester to help engage local vulnerable families in the growing, cooking, and eating of healthy foods.  "To develop this project, we are working with numerous partners including the UNH Cooperative Extension, the Manchester Health Department, and the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success."

Sophia first got involved with NHPHA as a student in UNH's Masters of Public Health program.  "I wanted to extend my understanding of public health beyond the borders of the classroom and learn about real time issues and initiatives in our State."  The student annual membership at NHPHA gave her the opportunity to join the association at a discounted rate, but still provide all the benefits of being a member.  "In particular, I enjoyed (and still do) getting the frequent HIAP emails and policy newsletters to stay on top of all the great work that is being done in our state."

When Sophia is not hard at work with FIT, or studying for her Masters, she enjoys kayaking and hiking with her dog.

NHPHA is thankful and most fortunate to have such talent and dedication from its volunteers and we look forward to having Sophia join us on the Board of Directors.

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