Tschirren works with, joins ranks of graduate students

by Kalani Simpson, UNMC public relations | October 25, 2018

Image with caption: Jessica Tschirren

Jessica Tschirren

Jessica Tschirren, director of student affairs in the College of Public Health, works with graduate students.

And now she herself is a graduate student.

Tschirren enrolled in a Ph.D. program this academic year.

She receives all the same emails her students do, and yes, she walked at the Graduate Studies matriculation ceremony and received her commemorative T-shirt.

But she said the perspective is different -- even than when she worked toward her master's, early in her career.

Now, she said she is invigorated by the blending of work and scholarship, and how each can inform the other, in real time.

"The training that I'm doing has allowed me to put a different lens on the day to day activities of my job," she said.

Her doctoral program in Health Practice and Medical Education Research combines her interests in health sciences, student development and leadership development. So when she meets with students to talk about co-curricular development, negotiating skills and conflict management, for example, it is directly applicable to her graduate work.

She calls it a "transfer of knowledge between my two worlds."

Tschirren appreciates the opportunity her graduate program gives her to think big-picture, or be creative, more so than her everyday work schedule allows.

She was one of 104 incoming new graduate students this fall. The students were welcomed at a matriculation ceremony that included remarks from Dele Davies, M.D., senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Swagat Sharma, president of the Graduate Student Association.

Justin Mott, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, was the featured speaker. Dr. Mott encouraged the new students to stretch beyond themselves, and learn for the love of learning, in addition to their official duties. He gave the example of himself learning to play the cello as a hobby, midway through his career.

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