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Danielle Robinson, Master of Public Health, Class of 2017

Danielle Robinson never expected to be pursuing her master of public health when she first came to Western University years ago. It seems as though it was her fate however.

Robinson hails from Biigtgong Nishnaabeg, a small First Nations’ community of nearly 1,200 citizens located on the north short of Lake Superior.  Arriving on campus, her plan was to pursue an undergraduate degree in science as a first step to medical school.

“I grew up in a very family and community-oriented environment, and I was taught to put others before myself.  So since I was a child, I wanted to do something to help others,” Robinson said. She believed that medicine was the pathway to accomplishing this goal.

Early on in her academic journey, Robinson became less interested in the clinical aspects of science and more passionate about First Nations studies. “I took an introductory course and fell in love with it,” she said. The course opened her eyes to all the different Nations there were, the differences between the Nations and the similar challenges each has.  

The learnings from her undergraduate studies and an intrigue with the case-based learning approach used in the master of public health program, inspired Robinson to inquire about the program and eventually apply.

She hasn’t looked back since. “I’ve really enjoyed the program so far,” she said. “It’s really helped me to broaden my ideas on global issues and the case-based method has been key to helping me grasp concepts. It’s about learning while using the knowledge,” Robinson said.

Robinson is very enthusiastic about being able to work with a learning team. Her team includes students from Bangladesh, Russia and Iran, which helps to create a very enriching and supportive learning experience.

“I love the aspect of building a circle of support, through the team,” she said.

Looking forward, Robinson is excited about the 12-week practicum where she will be able to work with an organization, apply her skills and learn more.

With a passion for working with Indigenous youth, Robinson hopes that following graduation she’ll be able to build a career focused on youth.

“I’ve taken part in Turtle Concepts in the past and I’ve worked with youth back home, so that’s my end goal – doing something that benefits Indigenous youth.”

While Robinson isn’t sure what that might look like, she knows that there are numerous opportunities available whether it is helping students acclimatize and transition to university, which she herself found challenging, or work with Indigenous youth in other parts of the world, she’s excited about the future.