Divya Krishnan, Media and Marketing Officer
Degree: Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours)
Passions: Positively impacting health by education and empowerment
Tell us about your undergraduate studies.
I started in the Bachelor of Social Welfare before realising I wanted to be a social worker. I transferred into the Bachelor of Health Science/Social Work but after a summer internship at the Alfred Centre, it made me re-evaluate my strengths and what I was really passionate about – public health. I dropped Social Work and went on to complete my Honours year in Health Science and graduated in 2016.
What’s your current job, and what other roles have you undertaken since graduation?
I’m the Media and Marketing Officer here at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Monash University. My role is really underpinned by the importance of health and science communication. My work looks at promoting faculty research and making complex matters understandable to laypeople. I focus on creating content across social media platforms, news outlets and print that can be digested and shared. We want to encourage more people to take an interest in the work we do here and understand that it might be more relevant to them than they realise. For example, one of our researchers recently discovered that migraine pain receptors could be manipulated to ‘switch off’ – that has huge implications for millions of Australians!
I’ve also worked as a Communications Officer for Cancer Council Victoria within Quit Victoria. That was my first full time role after graduation and it was a great foray into the world of communications and public health. I had the chance to build websites that needed to disseminate key public health messages but from a marketing perspective. The job opened my eyes to the many facets of public health careers that I didn’t know existed. I’ve had the opportunity to work in advocacy, campaign development, media and public relations, speech writing, and developing PSAs for television.
What do you find most rewarding about working in public health?
I love that I get the chance to contribute to educating the future generations. I firmly believe that education is what changes the future and the outcomes of millions of lives. My job lets me create material, campaigns and content that allows people to understand research that they may have never known even existed. It’s rewarding, challenging at times but incredibly fulfilling.
When you first graduated, could you see a clear career path or were you unsure?
In the six month lead up to my thesis completion, I began to panic about a career. I had all these research skills gained in my honours year but I began to realise I wanted something more hands on. I loved the idea of a PhD but it wasn’t for me. I chatted to my supervisors and old lecturers and realised my real skill was in communication. I didn’t know in what area of communications I wanted to be in but knew it was somewhere in that space. I just applied for jobs that I thought I could do and hoped for the best!
How did you go about getting your first health job?
I mentioned earlier that I completed the SPHPM Summer Scholarship Program. That four week program really springboarded my career. About four months after that program finished, I got a call about a part time role in communications at SPHPM. I was in third year and it was the best opportunity I could have had in my undergraduate degree. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to foster connections in your area of interest. During my internship, I made a lot of connections, networked, took researchers and staff out to coffee, and got to know what their interests and areas of expertise were. Those meetings led me to getting that first call and getting my foot in the door to where I am now.
What has been the main value of your degree? (ie. is it the skills learnt, the way of thinking taught, confidence, specific knowledge, networking opportunities…?)
My years at Monash (then and now) have been an invaluable experience in skill building, networking, fostering meaningful connections and building me up to be a career-ready graduate. Prior to my degree, I would have never imagined I’d be in marketing, but I'm using my theoretical knowledge every day. The skills I learnt in communication, teamwork and critical thinking and my theoretical knowledge of public health, policy and biology are the reason I was able to land a career at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
I am a more confident and resilient person. No-one expects university to be easy all the time, but I learnt how to manage expectations, prioritise effectively, engage in stakeholder management and how I could become more confident and a better student and graduate. My time at Monash taught me that I am always learning more every day and the only limits on my ability are the ones I set for myself.