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Samuel Baxter is a first-generation graduate student in the Health Policy and Management program.

Sam Baxter1. What made you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

As I attended college, I became aware of the type of societal problems I wanted to change. I realized that getting a graduate degree (MPH) would be essential to strive for such change.  The last year of my Master’s program, my advisor asked me if I was reaching my full capacity? She encouraged me to pursue a doctoral degree.

2. What do you love most about Chapel Hill?

Having recently come from Atlanta, GA, the thing I love most about Chapel Hill is how close in proximity things are and not having frequent traffic jams.  

3. If you had any advice for someone thinking about pursuing a graduate degree, what would it be?

As is the custom with most graduate level thinking, I answer this question with a series of questions.  I would advise anyone thinking about a graduate degree to question what their ultimate professional goal is. Is it reflective of  your personal values? Can you get to this goal without a graduate degree? What will you be sacrificing as you pursue a graduate degree? I hope thinking through these answers will point them in THEIR right direction.  

4. What is your dream career after you’ve completed your studies?

I am honestly not sure what my dream career position is and am okay with that for now. My dream career is to be a scholar advocate for improving the lived experiences of minority males. I want to be in a space that allows me to conduct research and translate it into policies and programs.  I want to work on interdisciplinary teams that collaborate with an array of partners from academia to government agencies to local communities.  I want a significant degree of autonomy and I want a flexible schedule that will allow me to adjust work obligations when family matters need to take priority.  

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