Nandini Rangan, MPH

Ohio State University College of Public Health
Veterinary Public Health

What inspired you to study public health? 

In my high school biology class, we learned about different infectious diseases briefly, which prompted me to learn about them on my own time. A lot of the sites and articles I found mentioned “public health”, and I began looking into what public health really is. I deeply resonated with the principles of public health and was pleasantly surprised at the interdisciplinary nature of it. In 2020 (a great year to be a public health major, I know!), I pursued my BSPH at The Ohio State and graduated in 2023; now I will be graduating with my MPH this May!

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

The most rewarding experience for me is making a difference in communities, whether it’s through direct community engagement or lab work. I love seeing the impact my work has, and it fuels me to keep going and making a difference! Specifically, in my time as a Community Health Intern for my local health department during the pandemic, engaging with the community and being able to fulfill their expressed needs left me feeling energized by the end of the day instead of worn out and tired.

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

I did my practicum at Clarke Mosquito Control and Management in Illinois. This internship consisted of field work and laboratory work. My role was to set up mosquito traps in various cities and towns, identify the mosquitoes, and prepare them for West Nile Virus testing. I was also able to assist in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing of these mosquitoes. I got a firsthand look at how public health surveillance and disease reporting is done. I was also able to assist the company in providing West Nile Virus education materials for employees and the public, and worker safety manuals to streamline training and minimize occupational exposures to physical hazards and mosquito/tick-borne diseases.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career? 

I hope to one day be able to prevent future pandemics by researching neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). There is limited research done on these diseases, due to minimal funding. However, research must be conducted on these diseases to ensure that they don’t progress to pandemic levels one day. I also hope to be a part of treatment research and initiatives to help communities that are currently dealing with these NTDs.


I wish someone had told me that actually working in public health positions is different than learning about public health in the classroom. It is extremely important that new public health students seek out internships in health departments, public health laboratories, etc. to actually understand what these roles are like. It can also be a great gauge to let you know whether or not you would like to be in a certain sector of public health!

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