Nicole Haas always knew she wanted a career helping people. The Master of Public Health major expects to graduate in May 2020, moving her closer to realizing her dream of applying to medical school.

“As a young girl, I experienced some adverse medical events with me and my family that showed me the importance of expert medical care,” says Haas, who also earned a bachelor’s in public health in 2018 from the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences. “I chose public health as a major because I wanted to make sure that my undergraduate and graduate degrees were in line with the passion I have for improving health and wellness.”

As part of the MPH curriculum, she landed an internship with the Revive Recovery Center, a non-profit peer support center in Nashua, N.H. that provides services to people recovering from addiction and to their families. In her work as a graduate intern and volunteer, she’s taking on one of the most challenging public health crises of the last 20 years: the opioid epidemic.

“I attended many meetings as an advocate and ally to recovery,” Haas says. “These face-to-face experiences are how I learned so much about the recovery community and how to continue finding ways to help people and prevent fatal outcomes.”

From the beginning of her internship, Haas was tasked with helping Revive get officially recognized by the Council on Accreditation of Peer Recovery Support Services, a step that allows the center to get reimbursed by insurance. She’s training to become a recovery coach and to deliver Narcan to people who have overdosed.

“This internship has been one of the most satisfying and fulfilling opportunities I have ever been presented with,” she says. “I have been able to participate and complete tasks that most students wouldn’t otherwise have exposure to until well into their career.”

Both public health degrees are building a foundation for her ultimate goal of becoming a medical doctor.

“By pursuing a pre-med background in public health, I’ve been able to take courses in a dynamic and diverse array of fields that I just wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience with other programs,” says Haas, who’s on track to graduate with her master’s degree in 2020. “I’ve taken classes with students majoring in biology, nursing, exercise physiology and lab sciences. My eyes have been opened to so many different aspects that go into health care, as opposed to just seeing it from a clinical standpoint.”