<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=799546403794687&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Picture of Miranda Dally on CU Anschutz background

Q&A with the 2024 Colorado School of Public Health Convocation Student Speaker, Miranda Dally

minute read

Miranda Dally, MS, research instructor and DrPH candidate at the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Work and Environment and Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, was chosen to be the 2024 graduation student speaker. We sat down with Miranda to learn more about why she was selected, her future plans, and what her convocation speech might include.

Q&A Header

Can you tell us about your background and how you’ve gotten to the point where you are now?

It's kind of a long story. I came out to Colorado in 2013 to do my Master's in Biostatistics at the Colorado School of Public Health and through a series of serendipitous events, I ended up working for the Center for Health, Work and Environment, which does a lot of occupational health research. So, I was their primary statistician and they kept me on after I graduated in 2015. Through my work supporting the biostatistics and analysis side of things, I became really interested in occupational health itself and decided that I was really passionate about that kind of research. So, I wanted to go back to school to basically expand the options in what I can do. I decided to do the DrPH in Environmental and Occupational Health and that's how I ended up there.

How has your experience with the Colorado School of Public Health been?

I think that what I really found at the school was that it was just a very nurturing environment. I've had really great mentorship both through the Biostatistics department as well as the Environmental Occupational Health (EOH) department, and I think that for me, what was why I chose to continue to stay at the university. I felt like faculty really invested their time in me and in students and it wasn't just teaching. Because if you're a professor, you have to teach. But it was really that they felt passionate, not just about teaching, but mentoring, both within school professionally and within life. Any time I talk to prospective students, the point I always focus on is that I just don't think that you get this level of mentorship at other institutions.

You’ve mentioned that you worked with the Center of Health, Work and Environment. Were you involved in other extracurriculars through the Colorado School of Public Health?

I‘ve always had kind of an interesting situation because of working full-time and being a student, but I was elected President of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, which is Colorado School of Public Health’s chapter of the national honor society. It's a nice way to help make sure that we acknowledge the efforts of all students who have really dedicated themselves to public health.

How did you feel about being selected as the top choice for the student speaker honor within the Department of EOH?

I felt really overwhelmed but I think that's because it's a lot to try to think about the messaging that I want to convey to students. I think that it's easy in public health to focus on the negatives and the issues and everything can feel kind of dire… At the same time, this is a graduating class of students who came in during or right after the pandemic—after what I consider as public health being attacked—and they decided, no, this is important. And so, how do I really emphasize the aspect that now we have all of these professionals who are so passionate about the work that they do, with the fact that we need these professionals because we have all of these horrible issues going on around us?

Why did you accept the Student Speaker honor?

I didn't accept it right away, but I sat on [it] and I thought about it, and I accepted it because I do feel like while it's a lot of pressure to convey that message, I know that that's the message that needs to be conveyed… Having that opportunity and having a broad picture of the issues and things like that, I felt like by accepting then at least I get to have the message that I want said.

Could you give us a little bit of a teaser of what you’re going to talk about throughout your speech?

It’s going to really focus on the fact that public health is facing a lot of crises from a bunch of different fronts, but at the same time, we, as a student body, have really been positioned to address those issues. When things can feel really heavy and it can feel like it's out of our control, there's always people working. And just the fact that, again, this is a group of students who decided to come to the Colorado School of Public Health in 2021/2022 in the middle of it all and they said, “No, you know what…We want to make a difference.” So, I think just going out with that message we've empowered ourselves now. So, let's go do that.

Past graduation, what do your next steps look like?

Broadly, I really want to continue my research in making an impact on workers and ensuring that they're safe and healthy, and they come home from work just as safe and healthy as they went to work. I'm hoping to stay in the occupational health realm and work with both employers and employees to make sure that we're doing everything that we can to ensure safety at work.


Colorado School of Public Health's Spring 2024 Convocation will be held on May 20, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus Parade Grounds. Dr. Patricia Gabow will be this year's keynote speaker.