Those Who Can, Teach
The Path from PhD Student to Professor
Kristen Gibson graduated from the Bloomberg School in 2010 with a PhD in Environmental Health Engineering, confident in her abilities to pursue a career in academia.
She had both research skills and experience as a teaching assistant. She also had acquired a less tangible but equally important qualification—how to be a good mentor.
Now an assistant professor of Molecular Food Safety Microbiology at the University of Arkansas, Gibson says she learned from the best: Her adviser, Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) Professor Kellogg Schwab, PhD, MSPH, is an expert in environmental microbiology and issues of global water quality and access.
Gibson worked as a technician in his lab for three years before entering the EHS doctoral program.
“Having someone excited about what you’re doing, who listens to your ideas and motivates you, that’s being a good mentor,” says Gibson, who, as a PhD student, researched molecular detection methods to identify pathogens in water sources.
As a CLF-Lerner Fellow for four years with the School's Center for a Livable Future, Gibson received funding to support her doctoral research.
In her own work as an educator and researcher, Gibson makes it a point to introduce her students to public health fundamentals.
“I don’t think we talk enough about how our research can drive health policy,” she says.
When it comes to advising her own students interested in pursuing public health graduate studies, Gibson doesn’t hesitate to offer an informed if slightly biased opinion.
“If you’re looking for exposure to aspects of public health across the board, then Hopkins is definitely the place to be,” she says.