Faculty Appreciation: Remembering The Times We Had Together

Becky Fein, MPH ’12 in the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health

“As we go on/ we remember/ all the times we/ had together”…  Perhaps a curse of my generation, these phenomenally cheesy (yet catchy) Vitamin C pop song lyrics come to mind as graduation approaches.

With or without this late ‘90s soundtrack, graduation lends itself to reflection—reflection about what we’ve learned, how we’ve grown, who we’ve met, and who has helped us to achieve this monumental goal.

Of late, my classmates and I have been doing a lot of reflecting on this last point in particular: who are the people who make the program and our experiences as students so solid?  The resounding sentiment, across all six departments, is that the faculty and staff are central to the success and well-being of the students at Mailman, whether it’s that individual professor who inspired a new way of thinking and shaped the direction of our career aspirations, or perhaps an overall feeling of appreciation for the synergy of our faculty teams.

In the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health (PopFam), where I’ve had the pleasure of residing over the past two years, the graduating class of 2012 came together to produce a parting gift to our beloved faculty.  Inspired by the creative mind of my fellow student Sharon Washington, we decided to make a video celebrating our experiences. I signed on as cinematographer, producer, and editor.

Our classmates responded with enthusiasm and, soon enough, nearly 25% of the graduating class, representing each of the four tracks within PopFam, offered to appear in the video.  Armed with a Flip cam and a tripod, we gathered several hours of footage of soon-to-be Masters in Public Health reflecting on their experiences in PopFam.  The fervent response we received from our colleagues was telling of the overall community, passion, and earnestness that defines PopFam.

This nostalgia-rich project guided my own reflections on a major life experience: moving to New York City from a tiny Northern California town, starting up a social life from scratch in a brand new place, and undertaking a rigorous academic program.  Shooting pictures and film clips of the campus, searching to find the best angles of buildings, the best views of this beautiful city from the buildings, and the characterizing features of the PopFam department, I couldn’t help but reminisce on the bests and most characteristic features of my own New York experience.

In the end, all I can say is: New York and Mailman—it’s been good, I’ve loved it all.

Click below to watch A Tribute to the Faculty of the Department of Population and Family Health. (Please note: the sound is soft. It gets much louder after the 35 second mark.)


  1. The Mailman School would like to congratulate Becky Fein, winner of the esteemed Bernard Challenor Spirit Prize, awarded to a graduating student who has demonstrated a commitment to building community, across department boundaries, at the Mailman School.

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