Pursuing Public Health
Cummings School Program: Master of Science in Infectious Disease and Global Health
Undergraduate Studies: BS in public health, Kent State University
Favorite MS-IDGH Course: Molecular Biology
Summer Research Proposal: Efficacy of Interferon alpha as a Therapy for Lassa Virus Infection in the Guinea Pig Model
Hunter Kellogg’s firsthand experiences in the field as an emergency medical technician (EMT) inspired his career path into public health.
Growing up in Yakima, Washington, as a high school student Kellogg decided to become a paramedic. While earning his Bachelor of Science in public health online from Kent State University, he worked full time as an EMT on an ambulance.
“I saw the systems failing,” he explains, describing his decision to pursue education in public health. “I saw how broken aspects of the American health system are, with people unable to access healthcare, even basic needs such as transportation—patients who couldn’t afford a car or cab needed an ambulance instead.”
Kellogg eventually transitioned from frontline work to community education, such as attending health fairs and teaching CPR courses, and liaising with public health departments in surrounding counties. He also spent time working with the Homeless Network of Yakima and the Benton-Franklin Patient Safety Coalition.
He developed an interest in infectious disease in his courses at Kent State and especially during two weeks he spent in Geneva, Switzerland, at the World Health Organization’s 72nd World Health Assembly, as a delegate on behalf of the World Council of Churches.
After graduating from Kent State and finishing four years as an EMT, Kellogg decided to pursue a career in public health and applied to the Master of Science in Infectious Disease and Global Health (MS-IDGH) program at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
“The program combined my interests in public health—it was the best of both worlds,” says Kellogg. “Tufts has such a great name for itself, I knew it would be a strong education. I wanted to understand the field in a broad sense, while learning specific skills. The program prepared me for whichever way I want to go afterwards.”
The small cohort of students in the MS-IDGH program allowed them to forge a strong bond together and with their professors.
“The professors are very knowledgeable in their fields, you can feel their excitement,” Kellogg shares. “When you have professors who are passionate, you become passionate. They all offered mentorship and were easily approachable.”
Kellogg also appreciated the in-person courses during the pandemic, particularly after moving cross country for the program.
“The pandemic made what we were learning more relevant and applicable,” he states.
Kellogg graduated on a Friday and started work the following Monday as a research associate in infectious disease assay development at Kephera Diagnostics.
“I had two days as a free man,” he laughs.
Based in Framingham, Massachusetts, Kephera Diagnostics is a start-up company providing more accessible point of care and lab diagnostics for emerging and neglected infectious diseases. Hunter works with a small team on a variety of projects targeting a few diseases that particularly impact low-income areas. A classmate of Kellogg’s from the MS-IDGH program also took a position at Kephera.
Kellogg applies what he learned at Cummings School in his day-to-day work and especially enjoys working in the lab.
“Tufts sets you up for success,” he concludes.
(Students in master of science programs at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine follow an academic calendar that runs 12 months each year beginning in August.)