2023 Ignatian Hoya Recipient
Marley Simpson is from Sloatsburg, New York. Before coming to Georgetown Biomedical Graduate Education, Marley earned a B.S. in Public Health from Texas A&M University.
What community service activity has meant the most to you?
Growing up, I was always taught the importance of community service and selflessly helping others, but it wasn’t until becoming involved in the ambulance corps that I saw firsthand how many members of the community can be suffering day in and day out without anyone knowing. Yes, I experienced a fair share of acute medical emergencies, but more often than not it was a call for an individual with underlying mental health concerns many times struggling with addiction as well. This was hidden very well from the public and I didn’t know just how prevalent it was until this point. It really opened my eyes and challenged the perspective I had on my community.
Going on any call was emotionally taxing, but it was these, where I was able to get someone the help they needed when they were at their lowest, that stuck with me the most. Being a part of the emergency services community showcased just how many people are out there lacking the mental health support they need, and many times you don’t see it until it’s too late.
What led you to pursue graduate studies?
Going into college, I was on a pre-professional track, so I always had the mindset that I would be continuing my education post-undergrad. When I decided against veterinary school, I changed my major to public health. While getting my bachelor’s, I quickly realized that many of the positions within the public health field outside of the general entry-level positions required a higher-level degree.
What is your academic focus? What sparked your interest in it?
I chose the M.S. in Biohazardous Threat Agents & Emerging Infectious Diseases because it combines both my interests in health and science with law enforcement. Academically, I have always had a health science focus, and that led me to public health. During my studies, I took an emergency management class which introduced me to the workings of federal government and CBRN threats. I was also able to take an introduction to biodefense course. I really enjoyed both of these courses, and that’s when I realized there was a field that combined both of my interests!
Why did you choose Georgetown BGE?
There are very few programs in the country that offer programs in this field, and all have a slightly different focus. Georgetown’s curriculum lined up the closest with my interests and was in the perfect location. What better place to learn about biodefense than in the nation’s capital! As opposed to many other universities, a majority of the professors are professionals with real-life experience working in the field. In addition to this, guest speakers are frequently brought in, giving us the opportunity to network and learn about the different subjects and agencies that we are being taught about directly from the source.