Holly Plackemeier

Holly Plackemeier, MPH

East Tennessee State University College of Public Health
Community Health

What inspired you to study public health? 

Before pursuing my MPH, I worked closely with public health professionals across the country through my role at the American Public Health Association. Seeing how dedicated these individuals were to their communities, and the immense support they provided throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their communities safe, inspired me to complete my MPH.

What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career/studies so far? 

As part of my culminating MPH project, I worked closely with a local after-school organization to develop a physical activity program. The goal was to show children how exercise and learning new skills can be fun, and to instill a love of movement. Seeing everything come together, and how much the children enjoyed participating in the program, was very fulfilling.

Where did you do your practicum? What was it about? 

I completed my practicum at the Administration for Children & Families (ACF) in Washington, D.C., through their Pathways program. My role focused on project management and communications support for ACF’s rural, multi-system youth, and anti-hunger initiatives. I highly recommend the Pathways program to other students and recent graduates interested in working for the government. It’s an incredible opportunity to get your foot in the door!

What do you hope to accomplish in your career? 

I hope to increase access and awareness of health services and resources, so more people can benefit from them. I also look forward to supporting and mentoring future public health professionals.


To listen, and that learning never truly ends. There is so much that students and recent graduates can learn by listening to their community, and to their co-workers with more experience than them. By being open to feedback and seeking out learning opportunities, you are better equipped to support the communities you serve.

If you are working, what is your job? 

Program Support Specialist in the Office of External Affairs at the Administration for Children & Families (ACF).

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